Canadians have long been fans of having their food delivered and enjoyed an abundance of both traditional and foreign cuisines to choose from. Over six-tenths of Canadians have used or currently use online platforms to order food.

While people could not go to restaurants in person during the pandemic, they continued to enjoy restaurant foods by having them delivered home. Many people also chose to order their groceries online to avoid contact with people and catching the virus. The pandemic is likely to have a lasting effect on people’s food ordering habits.

In this article, we have collated data on the food delivery statistics in Canada.

Food Delivery Statistics for Canadians

  • In 2019, Canadians spent $4.7 billion on online food orders.
  • People in higher incomes are most likely to order food online.
  • Families with children are likely to order more often and spend more on food deliveries.
  • Food service market is estimated to be worth over $98 billion by 2027.
  • Fast food is the most popular option for the majority of Canadians when ordering food online.
  • Almost half of Canadians are not happy to pay delivery or service fees for online food orders.
  • 64% of Canadians say that ordering food online costs too much.
  • 55% of restaurants say using third party apps and delivery services is only slightly profitable.
  • Online food orders grew by 36% during the pandemic.
  • SkipTheDishes is the most popular food delivery app in Canada with 55% of Canadians using them. Orders for mozzarella sticks went up by 1,700% during the pandemic.

The basics

Getting food delivered home has been growing in popularity in Canada with one in five using a food delivery service at least once a month. On average, Canadians spend $32 per order when using a delivery service.

Canadians are likely to order food from restaurants they have never visited in person. 81% of people who use food delivery service say they are likely to try restaurants they have not visited.

In 2019, Canadians spent $4.7 billion on online food orders. $1.5 billion of the revenue was from food ordered through various apps.

During the pandemic, the number of Canadians ordering food online at least once a week was 4.2 million. The portion of people who used food delivery apps at least once per week was 39% in February 2020. This was an increase of 29% compared to May 2019.

Food delivery demographics

People on incomes higher than $75,000 are the most likely to order food online followed by those whose income is between $50,000 and $75,000 with 23% and 20% respectively.

Students use delivery services most often (26%) followed by those who are business owners or work as managers, professionals and entrepreneurs (25%).

Households with children use food delivery services more often and spend more money per order.

What foods are Canadians ordering online?

33% of Canadians picked fast food as their number one choice when using food delivery services. The only exceptions were New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Residents of Prince Edward Island preferred fruits and vegetables, while non-perishables were the most popular food items ordered in New Brunswick.

The second most popular group overall was fruits and vegetables with 22% and dairy products were third with 21.5%. A fifth of the population also chose baked goods as their favourite thing to order online. Nearly 9% of Canadians ordered alcohol online during the pandemic.

The lowest rates for online food services were in British Columbia (34.3%) and Ontario (34.7%).

Canadians are not happy to pay delivery or service fees

When asked about delivery and services fees, 45.7% of the people taking part in the survey said they are not willing to pay them. An additional 32% said they would only pay a fee of up to 5%.

Monthly subscriptions are not very popular either. 58.7% of Canadians say they are not prepared to pay a subscription to use only one delivery service. Almost a quarter would consider a subscription.

What concerns do people have about using food delivery services?

Other than the unwillingness to pay delivery and services fees, 17.9% of Canadians have concerns over the quality of food when ordering online. 8.6% of those who responded to the survey said they did not like the idea of other people touching their food.

The number of online food orders grew during the pandemic

More people than before embraced being able to order food online during the pandemic. The number of online food orders grew by 36% from March 2019 to March 2020. Despite more people ordering online, many restaurants suffered during the shutdowns and it has been suggested that the sector will contract by 26% as a result.

The use of delivery apps in Canada

55% of Canadians used SkipTheDishes in the 2020 and it was the top online provider for food deliveries. UberEATS was the next popular service with 46% and Domino’s third with 43% of Canadians saying they had used their services in 2020.

SkipTheDishes also had the highest satisfaction rate at 89% while UberEATS was a close second with 86%. Most users were happy with the speed of delivery and the quality of food.

Younger people are more likely to use food delivery apps than those who are 55 or older. 67% of those aged 34 or younger have used delivery apps compared to 15% in the older age group.

Residents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are most likely to order using delivery apps while Quebec has the lowest rate at 26%. The most frequent users are in Ontario and Alberta, where 21% of survey respondents said they use food delivery apps once a week.

Why are more Canadians choosing to have their food delivered?

The main reason why Canadians choose to have their food delivered is convenience, with 33.8% citing it as the most important factor.

There were also safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic when more people (13.8%) said they ordered online because they were concerned about catching the virus. Another 6.9% of Canadians said they ordered food online because they were in self-isolation.

The concerns over the virus were highest among people from Nova Scotia, where 20.4% of the population said they ordered online because of the virus.

Over a third of Canadians used home delivery or curbside pickup services from grocery stores during the pandemic

Between March and November 2020, 31.3% of Canadians chose to have their groceries delivered rather than go to shops themselves. 28.6% opted for online services to order food directly from restaurants and 26.3% preferred to use phone apps to order their food.

The Baby Boomers were the least likely to order groceries online during the pandemic with 57% of them saying they had not ordered any food online during the peak of the pandemic. This was a lot larger proportion compared to the Millennials at 29%.

The number of people trying meal kit services increased during the pandemic

The meal kit industry has roughly tripled in five years and was expected to exceed $400 million in 2020.

The expectation was boosted by 12.8% of Canadians trying a meal kit service for the first time during the pandemic, but the meal kits had already been growing in popularity before COVID-19. People who order meal kits say it helps them to try a wider range of recipes and saves time spent on cooking.

65% of the people who tried a meal kit for the first time during the pandemic said they would continue to use them. People living in the Atlantic Region are most likely to order meal kits regularly at 28% while residents of Manitoba were the least likely at 14%. Canadians younger than 34 are twice as likely to use meal kits compared to people over 55.

Canadians went crazy over mozzarella sticks and hot wings during the pandemic

The online food delivery statistics show that orders for mozzarella sticks were up by 1,700% and hot wings were up 1,400% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Other popular items included burritos, chicken nuggets, poutine, onion rings and butter chicken. This was despite of 60% of Canadians saying they want to eat healthier.

The most popular restaurants were pizza (44%), burger (35%), and Chinese (24%). However, people who ordered online were more likely than average to order other ethnic foods, too, including Mexican, Indian and Japanese.

Complaints about food delivery services

In a survey by Agri-Food, participants were asked what they disliked about using food delivery services. They could choose more than one option. 64% of Canadians said the food was too expensive and 45% said they’d had issues with the temperature of the food when it was delivered.

A third of the people taking part in the survey said there was too much packaging used and 28% did not like using the apps because they could not order from their favourite restaurants on the app. 17% of the participants complained about the lack of professionalism among the delivery staff and 15% said there was not enough to choose from on the online menu.

The online food service market is expected to grow further

The prediction is for the food service market to be worth over $98 billion by 2027. A growing portion of that revenue is expected to come from food services addressing health and wellness. These types of food services are especially popular among the Millennials and Baby Boomers.

The Canadian food industry is investing in online platforms

The Canadian food sector is preparing for the future growth in online food orders and delivery services by investing over $12 billion on online platforms. The aim is to get more Canadians to order their food online and getting it delivered in the next five years.

Ordering through apps can be costly for the restaurants

Restaurants that use online apps and third-parties for deliveries can end up spending up to 30% of the order’s total to cover the fees from the third parties and the app. As a result, 55% of restaurants say that using third-party delivery is only slightly profitable.

21% of restaurants said there was no profit for them from using third party apps and delivery services. Only 8% of the restaurants taking part in the survey said using online delivery platforms was very profitable.

44% of restaurants reported that the quality of service from online food delivery apps was poor.

Using third-party delivery is expected to grow

Despite the profitability issues and nearly half of the restaurants rating online food service platforms as poor, 73% of restaurant operations expect that the use of third party delivery will continue to grow.

But the rise of online ordering will not be at the expense of in-house dining with 88% of restaurants expecting Canadians to continue eating out regularly.

Contactless delivery is here to stay

Over half of the restaurants and bars in Canada say they are likely to adopt contactless delivery permanently. In addition, over a quarter have already developed an online sales platform or have plans to implement one.

Conclusion

With the rise of online apps and services, more people are opting to have their restaurant foods and grocery shopping delivered to their home. The popularity of services such as meal kits has also been growing in recent years. The main reason people cite for getting their food delivered is convenience. During the pandemic, safety concerns were also a driver for the growth of online food orders.

To respond to the growing popularity of online food orders, companies within the food industry are investing a total of $12 billion in developing online platforms, as they expect that the popularity of food deliveries will continue to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

33% of Canadians picked fast food as their number one choice when using food delivery services.

The main reason why Canadians choose to have their food delivered is convenience, with 33.8% citing it as the most important factor.

In 2019, Canadians spent $4.7 billion on online food orders.

SkipTheDishes is the most popular food delivery app in Canada with 55% of Canadians using them.

55% of restaurants say using third party apps and delivery services is only slightly profitable for their business.

Sources