Food In Canada

What’s NEXT in Food at CHFA? by Birgit Blain

Food in Canada Staff   

Products Specialty Foods Birgit Blain CHFA New products

The CHFA NEXT virtual trade show showcased an impressive array of innovative products. It’s exciting to see blossoming creativity from Canadians, many from Ontario. Here’s a sampling of the intriguing foods and beverages I’m eager to taste.

Happy sourpuss

Consumption of fermented foods has been on the rise among Canadians seeking to bolster gut health. Acid League is bent on pushing the envelope with a flavourful range of raw, unfiltered fruit, vegetable, herb and spice vinegars. Founded on a marriage of food science and culinary arts, they are crafted with “a proprietary process that produces complex, concentrated, and consistently delicious living vinegars.” Gourmet “living (never pasteurized)” vinegars in attractive, perfect for re-purposing, glass bottles retail at $14.99 for 375 mL. Unique flavours to wake up and excite your taste buds include Garden Heat, Meyer Lemon Honey, Strawberry Rosé, Smoked Malt, and Mango Jalapeño.

Acid League, Guelph, ON

Humble carrot reimagined

All manner of vegetables have morphed into the hot plant-based jerky trend. Canada has no shortage of carrots; in fact they’re the number one field grown vegetable. We know they’re healthy, but let’s face it they have an image problem. Plant Bacon Corporation has done something about it, creating crispy Carrot Bacon. Carrots are air-dried to retain nutrients and seasoned with bacon-like flavour profiles: Carolina Smoke, Tokyo Toasted Sesame, and Applewood.

Plant Bacon Corporation, Peterborough, ON

Herbal with a silent H

URBL Functional Supplement Beverage packs a lot into a small bottle: “adaptogens, nootropics, hepatoprotection and collagen boosters”. Ingredients include exotic herbs (ashwagandha, brahmi, amalaki), chlorella, spirulina, beet, dandelion, tamarind, ginger, cayenne, cardamom, milk thistle, coriander, fennel, peppermint, apple cider vinegar, honey and maple syrup. The shelf stable nutraceutical beverage is formulated based on Ayurveda principals and traditional herbal medicine and licensed as an NHP (Natural Health Product).

Daily use is required, and it can take six weeks to see the benefits from some ingredients. The litany of claims focus on what’s not in the product, like caffeine, sugar, HFCS, Stevia and artificial sweeteners, among other things. With a $5.99 SRP per 2 oz. (60 mL) daily dose, this is a luxury item. It will be important for this brand to drive continued product use through marketing.

Pebble Roots Inc., Vancouver, BC.

Slice of Sauce

The name says it all. Slice of Sauce is a sandwich-ready condiment in a slice format reminiscent of the ubiquitous processed cheese slice. The shelf stable slices provide a mess-free classic ketchup and spicy sriracha that won’t sog up the bun. The American innovators have also partnered with two brands to offer popular Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce and Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce in slices. This novel product is ideal for RVers, campers and brown baggers. As always, the convenience comes at a premium $7.65 SRP for 8 slices separated by parchment.

Slice of Sauce, Austin TX

Bone Brewhouse

Nutritious bone broth aligns with the pandemic health focus. Convenient single serve pouches of Bone Brewhouse Instant Bone Broth make a slow-simmered, satisfying stock in seconds. They’ve added MCT oil to support low carb and keto diets. Available in five on-trend flavours: Lemon Ginger, Thai Coconut, Wild Mushroom, Ginger Beet and Naked.

Equilibrium Foods Inc., Kitchener, ON

As CPG food consultants, Birgit Blain and her team get brands ready for retail. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice®. Contact her at or learn more at

© Birgit Blain


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