Canadians and Americans share many things beyond a border, and one of them is an increasing bent toward consuming convenience foods.
Easy meals -- including yogurt, fruit, snack bars and heat-and-eat entrees such as canned soup and frozen pizza -- will show similarly robust growth within the two countries over the next 10 years, according to The NPD Group, which draws its comparisons from its new studies detailing projected eating trends in the two countries.
However, the studies, based on NPD's ongoing tracking of the eating patterns of consumers in the two countries, also reveal a number of differences.
For example, Americans are expected to increase consumption of sweet snacks and desserts three times more than Canadians over the next decade. Canadians as a whole are more inclined to favor salty and savory snack foods such as cheese, chips and crackers -- in fact, their consumption of these foods will outpace population growth over the next 10 years.
Breakfast habits also differ. NPD projects that Americans' consumption of heat-and-eat breakfast foods like bagels and frozen pancakes will continue to grow, while Canadians' consumption of such products will decline.
In addition, Americans' consumption of salads, warm side dishes and main-dish proteins such as meat or fish is projected to grow at a faster rate than Canadians'.
"Americans and Canadians have many of the same foods and beverages available to them, but what, how, when and where we eat does reflect the totality of a country's culture," as well as other factors, observes Ann Hanson, executive director, product development for NPD U.S. and author of the U.S. version of the "Future of Eating" reports. Food and beverage companies marketing in both countries need to understand the differences large and subtle to inform their product development, packaging and marketing, she adds.