Food In Canada

CHFA Show Learnings

Birgit Blain   

Food Trends Products Bake & Snack Food Beverages Specialty Foods CHFA coconut jerky vegan

CHFA coffee leaf teaInnovation requires creative thinking, understanding trends and responding to consumer needs. Trade shows present a great opportunity to broaden your outlook with a fresh way of thinking. A change in perspective can take product development to new heights.


But first, a couple of watch-outs:

  • When using ingredients in a new way, consult a regulatory specialist to ensure your product and label copy comply with Health Canada regulations.
  • Novel ingredients can be expensive and drive up the cost of your product, making it uncompetitive. Keep a close eye on the cost of goods.



5 on-trend products with a twist that caught my eye at the CHFA East show…


 Social Mission / Tea

Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Tea has the benefits of tea without tannins, bitterness and caffeine. But it also makes a positive social impact. Coffee bean harvesting is seasonal work. So, how do pickers make a living the rest of the year? Two innovative thinkers, founders of Wize Monkey, discovered the practice of using coffee leaves for tea. Yes, tea made from coffee. At the same time, they gave coffee plantation workers an opportunity for year-round income.

CHFA tigernut


Non-Dairy / Vegan / Fibre

Search the world for novel ingredients. A trip to Spain was the inspiration for Chufa Tigernut Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert made from organic tigernut “milk”. Gaining in popularity in North America, tigernuts are actually tubers, not nuts. This highly versatile ingredient can be eaten raw, baked, roasted, dried, and made into flour, “nut milk” and oil.

CHFA cold brew


Cold Brew Coffee / Coconut

The “caficionados” at Station Cold Brew wondered what happens when you marry two on-trend ingredients – cold brew coffee and coconut. So they brewed up Station Cold Brew Coffee with Coconut and put it in a can. A good shake of the nitrogen infused can, followed by a hard pour, delivers a creamy head and smooth, milky mouthfeel without a drop of dairy, and only 5 g sugar per serving.


CHFA gorp
Listening to your customers / Better Value

Canadian consumers are perpetual value-seekers trying to stretch their shrinking dollars.

Always the entrepreneurs, the team at GORP heard their customers’ requests for a more affordable option for frequent purchasers of their energy bars. They responded by creating GORP Energy Bar Mix to make at home. With the addition of four wet ingredients, the 1.1 kg pouch makes 25 bars at the fraction of the cost.


Coconut / Vegan / Jerky

Just when you thought you’ve seen every possible application for coconut, Hungry Buddha introduces Organic Coconut Jerky. Why should meat lovers have all the fun? Coconut jerky gives vegans something to chew on too.

As a packaged foods specialist, Birgit Blain transforms food into retail-ready products. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Companies and President’s Choice®. Contact her at Learn more at

© Birgit Blain

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