Innovation is critical for success in the packaged foods business. That’s why brand owners need to keep tabs on trends as they evolve in the market. Restaurants have long been a barometer for emerging food trends. Discover innovative, on-trend products at the annual Restaurants Canada show in Toronto. Here are my top picks from this year’s show.
Trends: Nose-to-Tail & Food Waste Reduction
Nothing is wasted at Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. They process every part of the fish for a variety of culinary applications. Sustainable, wild-caught Acadian Smoked Sturgeon loins are marinated with Canadian maple syrup, then gently smoked over maple chips. The result, a moist, meaty texture and mild taste, with the flavour of Canada. acadian-sturgeon.com
Chicken wings have flown the coop and Walleye Wings are the new catch of the day. Freshwater Cuisine from Northern Ontario is on a mission to reduce waste. They transform under-used fish species and parts that fishermen throw away into mouthwatering morsels. Seriously crunchy and meaty! www.freshwatercuisine.com
Canadian eating habits are evolving. As meat consumption declines the popularity of plant-based proteins is growing. Vegan options made with pulses, coconut, soy, grains and nuts are exploding in the dairy and meat space.
Gluten-free oats provide the base for Oat and Mill dairy-free frozen desserts that taste remarkably like ice cream. www.oatandmill.com
King’s Vegetarian Food introduces five frozen entrées with soy protein, fresh vegetables and King’s own sauces. Each entrée is a generous 370 g, designed for balanced nutrition and microwaves in under five minutes. kingsvegetarianfood.ca
Trends: Cold Brew & Sugar Reduction
Hatch Beverage Company, a maker of cold brew coffee, is applying the same technique to tea. Chill out with the clean, naturally refreshing taste of Hatch Cold Brew Tea, available in green tea and herbal varieties. All flavours are sugar-free, with zero calories. hatchcrafted.com
Trend: Savoury Umami
What is umami? It’s one of the six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami and metallic. The savoury flavour is found in foods like bone broth, seaweed, mushrooms and truffles (not the chocolate kind).
Bothwell Cheese adds a distinctive earthy taste to their Monterey Jack with Black Truffle. bothwellcheese.com
Mushrooms are popping up on more plates in flavourful pesto, dips, soups, salads and sauces.
Joe from Ponderosa Mushrooms noted the rising popularity of Shiitakes – firm, versatile mushrooms, recognized for their medicinal value, with increasing applications in teas and supplements. ponderosa-mushrooms.com
TeaBOT marries food with technology. A robotic kiosk offers a collection of loose leaf teas to create your own custom blend. Choose from black, green, herbal, yerba mate or oolong. You control the percentage of teas, caffeine level and water temperature. As an added bonus, data is collected to rank flavours and track trends. teaBOT.com
As a packaged foods consultant, Birgit Blain helps brands that struggle to maintain listings. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw and President’s Choice. Contact her at [email protected] or learn more at www.BBandAssoc.com
© Birgit Blain