Free from packaged food continued to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, despite expectations in the early part of the year that the pandemic would ease. New waves of cases hit in March and April and also in July and August, impacting public health restrictions and changing Canadian consumers’ lifestyles.
Within free from packaged food, free from meat is proving the most dynamic, seeing explosive growth over the review period and into 2021 as a craze for plant-based protein and food intensified. There are a growing number of major global players joining the competition in this area, including the 2020 entry of Impossible and Meatless Farm and 2019 entry of Beyond Meat and Lightlife.
With the launch of fairlife free from lactose fresh milk in 2018, Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid made a strong entry into Canadian dairy as well as free from packaged food. On top of this brand’s on-trend free from lactose claims, it is also lower in sugar and higher in protein in comparison to standard fresh milk.
Consumer demand for healthier packaged food increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic towards the end of the review period, with many becoming more likely to research the nutritional benefits offered by their diets and also to investigate potential problem areas. Many consumers are notably shifting to flexitarian diets, believing these to be healthier, while awareness of food intolerances continues to rise.
A number of different sales drivers are expected to impact free from packaged food in the forecast period, with this shaping the performance of different product areas. The rising incidence of food allergy and intolerance will benefit many areas such as free from allergen, free from lactose and free from gluten.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically boosted interest in e-commerce, particularly for grocery products, with retailers, producers and consumers alike increasingly focusing on the e-commerce channel. This channel was historically underdeveloped in comparison to e-commerce in many other developed countries, as a result of the challenges created by Canada’s vast size and relatively small population.
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This category includes free from gluten, free from lactose, free from allergens, free from dairy and free from meat products. This excludes foods which are certified ‘free’ of a specific product when this is based on use of sterilised equipment.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Food Intolerance research and analysis database.
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