It's the time of year when Canadians have food on the brain. Ok, no matter what time of year it is, we have food on the brain.
For some of you, a delicious roasted turkey with all the fixings is on the horizon. Perhaps you plan to indulge in those fancy chocolates that don't seem worth the cost any other time of year. Or maybe you celebrate the holiday season with your favourite takeout, delivered piping hot to your door, avoiding the snow and holiday crowds.
The options are many and mouthwatering.
Food is on our minds at CIRA too. So much so, we decided to write a report about it. More specifically, we combined it with the other thing that is usually on our minds - the internet.
How has the internet changed the way Canadians eat? How can it help feed hungry Canadians? Or, how might it take food off Canadians' plates? CIRA's report How the internet feeds hungry Canadians digs into these questions and more.
You can read the whole report to get the full meal deal. If you'd like an amuse-bouche to get you started, here are five tasty morsels to whet your appetite.
1. A quarter of Canadians buy food online.
Canada's Internet Factbook shows that 24 per cent of Canadians have purchased food online in the last year. That's up from just 14 per cent two years ago and we expect this will continue to trend up as the convenience of online food shopping spreads. Maybe this report will give a nudge to the other 75 per cent.
2. Canadians like takeout and ordering it online is oh so easy.
Whether you visit your favourite restaurant's website to feed your Thai food craving, or Skip the Dishes delivers a bowl of comforting soup when you're feeling under the weather, takeout is a popular online activity.
According to a survey CIRA shared on social media in September, ordering takeout, whether for delivery or pick up, is the most popular way respondents order food online. Poutine and a Tim Horton's coffee delivered to your front door on a cold winter night - what could be more Canadian than that?
3. Great Canadian websites are fueling a local food movement.
The local food movement is alive and well online. As a previous (but forever in my heart) prairie girl, my eyes lit up as they feasted upon the culinary delights on saskmade.ca, where they sell Saskatoon berry everything (pies, jams, syrups).
A simple Google search can connect you to local fare too! Farm-to-table restaurants promote their delicacies through beautifully designed websites like fablekitchen.ca, provincial governments promote local produce and recipes to encourage residents to buy them and mealkit services like hellofresh.ca ask Canadians "What's for dinner?". Feeling hungry? The internet is ready to take your order.
4. Digital technology makes "waste not, want not" a reality.
Food waste happens…it's a fact. With so many Canadians going hungry every day, this is a problem. But trailblazers like Moisson Montreal are connecting with grocery stores and others to divert unspoiled food headed for a landfill into the cupboards and fridges of community organizations feeding the hungry. Thanks to the internet, this process is making a difference.
CIRA helped fund Moisson Montreal's good work and we're very proud of it. Take note: our Community Investment Program open in January for another round of grant applicants. Visit cira.ca/cip to learn more!
5. Everyone should have access to food and the internet.
Home internet services are expensive and tend to eat up a bigger part of families' monthly budgets than they ought to. For some Canadians, the cost is so high they have to take away from food budgets to pay it. Given how valuable the internet is in the daily lives of Canadians, who can blame them? CIRA envisions a Canada where nobody needs to choose between buying food and paying their internet bill. With commitments by the Canadian government and the actions of internet advocates and organizations like CIRA, a better (and less hungry) online Canada can become a reality.
Visit cira.ca/food to read the full report and share your experience with #foodandinternet with @CIRANews on Twitter.