Three-in-Ten Canadians Have Gained Weight During Pandemic

Only 41% of respondents say they follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide “all the time” or “most of the time.”

Vancouver, BC [June 9, 2020] – The COVID-19 pandemic has changed some of the eating and food preparation habits of Canadians, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 31% of Canadians say they have personally gained weight during the pandemic, while 52% report no change and 14% say they have lost weight.

Women (33%) and Canadians aged 18-to-34 (36%) are more likely to acknowledge weight gain during the pandemic.

While two thirds of Canadians (66%) are “very familiar” or “moderately familiar” with Canada’s Food Guide, only 41% say they follow the document’s recommendations “all the time” or “most of the time” when choosing what to eat in an average week.

“Half of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (50%) are paying attention to the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Smaller proportions of Canadians aged 35-to-54 (42%) and aged 55 and over (34%) are following the same course of action.”

Across the country, 36% of Canadians say they prepare dinner for themselves and others in their household in less than 30 minutes—up six points since a similar Research Co. survey completed in June 2019.

Most Canadians (56%, -4) are in the kitchen for 31 to 60 minutes on an average weeknight, while 8% (-2) devote more than an hour to making dinner,

Three-in-ten Canadians (29%) say they are baking desserts—such as cakes or cookies—at home more often than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. One-in-five (21%) bake bread at home more often now than a few months ago.

Residents of Ontario are more likely to be baking bread at home more often than residents of other regions (27%), while Albertans are more likely to be baking homemade desserts (35%).

While most Canadians do not report a significant change to their consumption of six different foods since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some nuances.

Almost one-in-five Canadians (15%) are eating less fish and shellfish, and 15% report eating less meat. Conversely, 24% of Canadians say they are eating both fruits and vegetables more often than before the pandemic began.

Results are based on an online study conducted from June 1 to June 3, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.