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In the past two decades, Canadians have shifted towards a diet which includes more fruits and vegetables, cereal products, and nuts and beans.

During this time, poultry consumption has increased, while beef and pork consumption has continued to decline. Oil and fat consumption increased through the 1990s to a peak in 1998, but has since been falling steadily. Sugar available for consumption has increased over the past two years from the record low set in 2007.

On a per capita basis, the Canadian diet in 2009 included more fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, coffee and fish compared with 2008. In contrast, per capita availability has declined for consumption of processed fruit and vegetables, juices, dairy products and meat products.

Estimates on food availability have been adjusted to account for losses in cooking, storage and waste that occur in homes, restaurants and institutions while preparing and processing food.


Total fresh fruit intake, including citrus, reached a record 39.3 kg per person, up slightly from 2008. Total fresh apples available for consumption increased by 8.2% from 2008, as did strawberries (+7.9%), avocados (+13.2%), cranberries (+26.8%) and cherries (+33.3%).

Declines occurred for fresh grapes (-5.3%), peaches (-17.7%) and nectarines (-21.7%). Intake of blueberries, which had been steadily climbing during the past 10 years, fell 1.3% in 2009. Other berries, including raspberries, saskatoons, loganberries, mulberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries, rose by 6.4%.

After reaching a record high in 2008, processed fruit in the diet fell by 2.4% in 2009. Among processed fruits, canned fruits recorded the largest reduction (-3.4%) to 4.8 kg per person. Citrus fruit in the diet fell by 6.0% to 5.8 kg per person, as imports dropped from the previous year.


The total fresh vegetable intake, excluding potatoes, reached a record 40.7 kg per person in 2009, slightly higher than the five-year average of 38.6 kg per person. This was just above the previous record of 40.3 kg in 2001.

Notable increases occurred in a number of fresh vegetables, such as beets, of which Canadians doubled their intake from 0.2 kg per person to 0.4. Intake of fresh cucumbers rose 8.0%, as did peppers (+10.0%), eggplant (+12.5%), sweet potatoes (+24.3%) and onions (+35.8%).

The amount of potatoes in the diet, regardless of how they were consumed, rose by 1.4% to 27.9 kg per person in 2009. This was the first increase since 2001. Total processed vegetable intake fell by 0.3% to 14.9 kg per person.

Animal products

Per capita red meat available for consumption continued its decline in 2009, falling by 0.7% to 23.4 kg per person per year. Red meat available for consumption has declined by 5.2 kg per person over the last 20 years.

The amount of beef and veal in the diet dropped 2.3% from 2008, while pork declined 1.3%. Intake of poultry in the diet fell by 1.2% to 13.4 kg per person, similar to levels in 2006 and 2007. In contrast to red meat intake, poultry in the diet has risen by 3.5 kg per person over the last 20 years.

The number of eggs in the diet per person fell 1.2% to 12.7 dozen per person. However, intake of eggs remained above the five-year average of 12.5 dozen per person per year from 2004 to 2008. Fish available for consumption rebounded, increasing 1.5% over 2008 levels.

The amount of dairy products in the diet fell for the second year in a row. Canadians consumed 16.0 kg per person of dairy products, down 3.5% from 2008. Intake of fluid milk was down 0.8%, total cheese dropped 1.4% and all other dairy products were down 5.2%. Only the intake of total cheeses remained near the five-year average (2004-2008) of 10.0 kg per person.


Total cereal products available for consumption recovered in 2009, increasing 0.8% over 2008, following declines in the past four years. Since 1989, per capita cereal in the diet has grown by 8.9 kg per person.

Wheat flour intake increased 1.0% to 43.6 kg per person in 2009. Canadians increased the amount of rice in their diets by 1.3% to a record high of 7.1 kg per person. Rice availability for consumption has more than doubled (+108.8%) over the past 20 years, the equivalent of an increase of 3.7 kg per person.

Sugar and syrup

After six years of declines, the amount of sugar and syrup in the Canadian diet has risen for two years in a row, reaching 23.8 kg per person. Intake of maple syrup reached 0.2 kg per person, its highest level since 1984. A record production year for maple syrup in 2009 increased the supply of maple products.

Oils and fats

Total oil and fat consumption continued to decline, falling to 17.9 kg per person in 2009, down by 3.6 kg from the peak of 21.4 kg per person in 1998.


During the last 20 years, the per capita consumption of alcoholic beverages has dropped by 7%, or seven litres, for every individual aged 15 and over.

On average in 2009, Canadians aged 15 and over drank 99.44 litres of alcoholic beverages per person, up 0.2 litres over 2008. Of this total, Canadians drank 15.2 litres of wine, 6.9 litres of spirits and 77.3 litres of ale.

Coffee consumption increased 3.6% to 90.0 litres per person in 2009. This is an increase of 14 litres per person from 1989.

Tea intake dropped 15.9% from 2008 to 65.2 litres per person last year.

The amount of tea in the diet has increased 61.0%, or 24.7 litres per person, from 20 years ago.

Soft drink consumption fell 1.3% in 2009. This excludes high energy drinks and sports drinks.


The total daily intake of calories per person fell to 2358.2 calories, down by 155.0 since the peak recorded in 2001.

Caloric intake, however, was down last year by 0.2% or 5 calories per person per day, from 2008.