Toronto – The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) held the 2013 edition of Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) in Toronto from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.
The annual grocery-specific conference and trade show featured a diverse group of speakers, including Marc Poulin, president and CEO of Sobeys Inc.; Tom Furphy, CEO of Consumer Equity Partners; Peter Larkin, president and CEO of the National Grocers Association; and Stephen Tallevi, co-founder and general manager of Grocery Gateway.
Some of the highlights of this year’s show included a super-panel on the future of online grocery retailing, a Luncheon of Honour, the GIC Celebration Party and the 51st Annual Independent Grocer of the Year Awards.
But one of the best parts of the show is the food. This year was no exception.
Here are some of the products – both new and innovative – Food in Canada came across and sampled. Included in our roundup is the CFIG’s most innovative products from the show.
Yogurt drink for kids
• For active kids comes Astro Kik, a new drinkable yogurt in five flavours from Parmalat Canada. The gelatin-free yogurt drinks provide energy, are naturally sweetened and include seven essential vitamins and minerals. The five flavours are: Tropical Twist, Strawberry Explosion, Blueberry Blast, Berry Blitz, and Raspberry Banana Fusion.
Water with a buzz
• Happy Water is a B.C.-based product that blends pure natural spring water and mineral water that contains naturally occurring lithia and other minerals. The water is sourced from two ancient mountain springs in B.C. The company says the presence of these rare minerals creates Happy Water’s naturally alkaline state.
Tea and protein
• All natural protein tea from Blu-Dot Beverage Company Inc. in Oakville, Ont. offers teas with natural ingredients like whey protein from New Zealand (up to 12 g or protein) and prebiotic dietary fibre (up to six grams of fibre). The teas also do not contain GMOs, artificial ingredients or gluten. The teas are available in five flavours and two different sweetener types. The teas with natural stevia come in Orange Pineapple, Blueberry Acai and Apple Pear (White Tea). The teas with organic cane juice come in Honey Lemon and Cranberry Pomegranate.
• Duncan Hines Frosting Creations is a new frosting starter base that is ready to flavour and is easy to stir. The product comes with the base and a flavour mix packet. The consumer empties the entire packet into the base and mixes the two with a utensil right in the container. The new flavours include Bubble Gum, Caramel, Chocolatey Marshmallow, Cotton Candy, Chocolatey Mint, Orange Crème, Strawberry Shortcake, and White Chocolatey Raspberry.
Sweet and savory spreads
• Duhaime Gourmet of Drummondville, Que. offers a selection of gourmet spreads sweetened only with organic sugar and pure maple syrup called Duhaime Deluxe. Each jar contains an original combination of fruit and contain no added artificial flavours, no preservaties and no colourants. Breakfast spreads include flavours such as 5 Fruits, 3 Citrus, Wild Blueberry and Raspberry, and Strawberry Apple and Honey. Other flavours include Raspberry Cranberry and Cointreau, Strawberry and Champagne, Orange and Brandy, and Peach Cherry and Amaretto. The spreads are only 25 to 30 calories per serving.
• Kienna Coffee Roasters of Calgary showcased its new KiennaCUP adapter for the Keurig brewing machines. The new KiennaCUP has a lifespan of about 5,000 cups. It allows consumers to continue using their current k-cup style coffee brewer but at a lower cost and with less waste. The KiennaCUPs are 100 per cent biodegradable, manufactured in Canada and are BPA-free.
Smooth it up
• Bao Smoothies of Port Hope, Ont. highlighted its Baobab Superfruit smoothies. The smoothies all contain Baobab fruit pulp, which is not pasteurized, heat-extracted, freeze-dried or concentrated. The smoothies also don’t contain preservatives, dairy or artificial colours or flavours. The smoothies come in Mangosteen + Passionfruit, Acerola + Guava, and Pineapple + Coconut.
• Gay Lea Foods Co-operative showcased its new addition to its Spreadables line, the Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Spreadables Butter. The new product is a perfect blend of cinnamon, brown sugar and real Gay Lea butter that spreads right out of the fridge. The spread is ideal for waffles, French toast and bagels, and is also ideal for savoury sweet potatoes, carrots and chicken. Consumers can also add it to baking.
Pizza in a cone
• Aliments MSU Foods Canada Inc. of Mirabel, Que. imports the new Pizza Cornetto – an innovative and fun way to have pizza. The cornetto or cone in English is a par-baked drip and spill free cone made of a proprietary flaky dough. The pizza fillings include Mozzarella with Pesto, Margherita, Three Cheese with Onions, Fire Roasted Vegetables, Spinach & Pesto, Sicilian Pizza, and Giotta Pizza.
• New from Dole Food Company are Dole Live Right clusters of fruit and nuts. The line includes Almond Mini Crunch Strawberry Goji, Almond Mini Crunch Blueberry Pomegranate, Almond Mini Crunch Raspberry Acai, Double Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites, Peanut Butter Banana Bites, Mixed Berry & Almond Bites, and Cranberry Almond Bites. The new snack line is low in sodium, a source of fibre, is 100 per cent natural, vegan, contains no cholesterol, and is free of dairy, wheat and gluten.
• Sabra Dipping Company LLC launched new dips for the deli. The products include Sun Dried Tomato Hummus, Basil Pesto Hummus, Homestyle Medium Salsa, and Guacamole Classic.
New in dairy
• M-C Dairy of Toronto showcased its Dahi, a fermented milk product that is not yogurt. To produce Dahi, mesophillic cultures are mixed and grown together. The acid and flavour producing bacteria work at low temperatures and give Dahi a firm body as well as a sweet taste, mildly acidic flavour and appetizing aroma. M-C Dairy also showed its Labneh, which is like a yogurt cheese that has less fat and a smooth and creamy texture. The company also had its Lassi, a Dahi-based drink that is blended and comes in three flavours: Mango Lassi, Sweet Vanilla Lassi and Salty Lassi. The company is also launching kefir in 250 mL single servings and multipacks. The kefir flavours include Blueberry, Peach, Strawberry, and Raspberry.
Halal chicken products
• Mina Foods showcased its line of hand-slaughtered halal chicken. The company offers chicken drumsticks, boneless skinless chicken breasts, whole chickens, chicken thighs and chicken leg quarters. The company also offers whole turkeys. The company also offers frozen chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken wings and chicken burgers.
• Poutine Popperz are nuggets filled with gravy and diced cheese and surrounded by a crispy potato coating. The Denbar Food Group of Colborne, Ont. was showcasing the popperz at its booth.
New natural meats
• Schneiders Country Naturals and Natural Selections had new products on display. Schneiders Country Naturals new products included Back Bacon made with pork loin and natural ingredients and Peameal-style Back Bacon also made with pork loin and natural ingredients. Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections introduced its new bacon. All three products are gluten-free and contain no preservatives.
• Hershey’s and Oh Henry! are now available in a milkshake. The rich and creamy milk shakes have the real taste of the chocolate bars. The shakes are made with fresh milk and real chocolate, and are an excellent source of protein, vitamin D and calcium. Both beverages contain no preservatives, are shelf stable and are available in 350-mL single serve and kid-size 200 mL multipacks.
• The Natrel Baboo line is now available in two-litre cartons. Natrel Baboo Step 1 is for children 12 to 24 months and Natrel Baboo DHA Step 2 is for children two years of age and older. Step 1 is a dairy-based beverage formulated to help toddlers into dairy. Step 2 is a milk beverage with DHA targeted to early childhood nutritional needs. It has three times more DHA than other DHA milk.
• Natrel Café Hazelnut has been revamped and is back with an improved flavour. Natrel Café is made with real cream, fitting in with consumers’ desire for real ingredients and real foods.
• International Delight Iced Coffee was another hit. The Iced Coffee is made from 100 per cent premium Arabica coffee blended with milk, cream and a touch of flavour. It’s available in Vanilla, Mocha and Caramel Macchiato. The beverage comes in 1.89 L cartons and is ready to drink. In Canada these products are licensed to Saputo Inc.
• SteerSelect Beef Liver Plus is a new line of dog treats. The plus refers to the addition of real Apple, real Banana, real Pumpkin and real Sweet Potato to create the four new flavours. SteerSelect dog treats are made only with 100 per cent pure beef liver. The treats contain no preservatives or additives. The products are 100 per cent natural and 100 per cent grain-free.
Veggie it up
• Country Harvest Veggie Bread is a line of breads that combine grains and vegetables. The line up includes Carrot, Celery & Leek, Spinach & Green Pepper, and Tomato, Red Pepper & Zucchini. The breads are made with 100 per cent whole grains and contain one full serving of vegetables in every slice.
• Nestlé Canada Inc. unveiled several new products including Nesfruta, Kit Kat 2 Finger Bar, Aero Big Bubble Bar, Peelin’ Pops, and Gerber Arrowroot Biscuits. Nesfruta is a liquid water enhancer made with fruit juice, all natural flavours and naturally sourced colours. The Kit Kat 2 Finger Bar will celebrate Chinese New Year in 2014 with a new Kit Kat Orange multipack. The limited edition features innovative packaging and includes a slot for “red pockets” filled with money. The Aero Big Bubble Bar is a new format that comes in three flavours: Milk, Truffle and Duo, a combination of milk and dark. Peelin’ Pops are a frozen treat with an edible banana-flavoured gummy peel and a creamy vanilla centre. They have no artificial colours. Gerber Arrowroot Biscuits have an easy-to-hold shape for toddlers. The biscuits dissolve quickly and have no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners.
• Wong Wing introduced two new entrees: Ginger Chicken and Sweet & Sour Pork. Ginger Chicken includes bit-size pieces of tender, lightly breaded, all-white chicken breast, carrots, bell peppers and onions, all tossed in a tangy ginger sauce. The Sweet & Sour Pork is sweet, sour and tangy. It also includes bite-size pieces of breaded pork.