Restaurant menu

Canadian Beef Market Intelligence Update: Restaurant Menu Survey Suggests Focusing on Benefits of Canadian Beef


A recent survey commissioned by Canada Beef of Canadian restaurant menus confirmed that Canadian beef remains strong in many categories and identified new opportunities to better promote it to restaurant diners.

Researchers randomly selected 100 menus from restaurant websites between February 16 and March 8, 2021. The menu selection provided a good representation of different restaurants based on region, type (independent restaurant vs. chain), type of cuisine and style of service (casual family, fast food, upscale casual dining, and fine dining).

The research process provided a perspective on the challenges the sector faced during the pandemic. During the investigation period, some selected restaurants closed their doors, rewrote their menus or changed their prices. Other restaurant websites went offline. Researchers also encountered complications regarding menu availability and prices. In situations where a menu was not available, the researchers used a menu from a similar restaurant as a substitute. When takeout prices were not available, the researchers obtained the information from third-party delivery services.

Complications aside, the menu survey revealed several important lessons for the industry, said Michael Young, president of Canada Beef.

“There is a clear opportunity to strategically brand and promote the benefits of Canadian beef to consumers and to communicate the attributes of the Canadian beef benefit from door to plate.

Supplied by Beef Canada

In terms of menu offerings, beef and chicken competed for the dominance of non-vegetable protein, on dedicated lunch menus and dedicated take-out menus. The beef did a bit better on chain restaurant lunch menus and chicken a bit better on independent restaurant lunch menus.

Beef, chicken and the “other” category (lamb, veal, etc.) were dominant in the entrees of restaurant chains and independent restaurants. Beef and fish / seafood were the most expensive entrees on the main menu, and both were significantly more expensive at independent restaurants than chain restaurants.

The study also identified areas for improvement. The study noted that the presence of beef was lower in the appetizer sections of the main menus, although none of the four main proteins had a strong presence.

Menus often did not mention specific attributes, with menus at independent restaurants being less likely to promote attributes than menus at chain restaurants. Animal-specific attributes (eg, grass-fed, organic, etc.) were “almost negligible,” the study found.

Supplied by Beef Canada

According to the study, only a small proportion of restaurants referred to the Canadian origin of the beef they served.

This is an area of ​​interest for Canada Beef, Young said. “Canada Beef is designed to be responsive and flexible to the changing needs of the industry,” he said. “During the pandemic, we adapted to changes on the retail side, where we saw an increase in the consumption of traditional items such as ground beef and grill cuts, and the emergence of the promotion. retail alternative cuts, providing consumers with innovative new ways to enjoy beef. “

The strong presence of beef in the menu survey results is comparable to recent Statistics Canada data on food consumption. Consumption data has shown that while all red meat and poultry consumption declined in 2020, beef consumption stayed on course with a marginal gain.

Per capita beef consumption increased 0.3 percent to 18 kg retail weight, and total beef consumption increased 1.5 percent. Retail demand for beef grew 5.5% in 2020, the third highest increase in recent history.

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