Food In Canada

Product Innovations at GIC

Birgit Blain   

Food Trends

Photo-Counting Sheep

Innovation is often the result of trying to solve a problem. The more painful and widespread the problem, the greater the chance of commercial success.

At the Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) trade show it was about solutions for retailers and consumers.

Digging deeper than the GIC Innovative Products Awards, I discovered ten new products that address a variety of consumer needs.

  • Sleepless nights is a problem for millions of Canadians. But isn’t it counterintuitive to drink coffee before bed? Not with Counting Sheep CoffeeSpecially formulated to help you sleep, it’s a proprietary blend of gourmet decaf with organic valerian root, known for its sedative properties.
  • Believe it or not, From Farm to Table Canada is making popcorn healthier. One serving of Popfusion contains the nutrients in a serving of fruit or vegetables. “It wasn’t easy” says company founder Becky Smollett. One challenge was keeping the fat at 3 grams to meet school nutrition guidelines. Look for two new products early next year.
  • A tremendous amount of food is wasted from farm to kitchen. Bluapple® helps consumers reduce fresh produce waste. Ethylene gas absorbers retard spoilage, keeping produce fresher longer. KitchenAid® also launched a produce preserver.
  • Motivated by the mess and smell of collecting kitchen compost, combined with environmental consciousness, brothers Jackson and Morgan Wyatt envisioned a better solution. The result is The Green Lid compostable compost
  • Aronia berries, superfruits high in antioxidants, are promoted for their health benefits. A little Golijska Aronia juice goes a long way, with a recommended dosage of 4 tablespoons per day for medicinal purposes.
  • A new introduction to the yogurt category, Olympic Dairy developed Chia Balkan Style Yogurt, creating a unique texture with the added benefits of protein and fibre. Flavours include pandan, extracted from the pandan leaf used in Southeast Asian cuisine.
  • Bacon is hot, but pork is not for everyone. That’s why RizGlobal Foods launched Niagara Valley Farms Halal beef “bacon”. More tender than regular bacon, with the same satisfyingly smoky flavour.
  • No dishes to wash up with Island Way Sorbet. Each serving contains 65% fruit juice and comes in a compostable natural fruit shell. Impress your guests when you serve sorbet in a hollowed-out citrus fruit or pineapple.
  • For vegans and the lactose intolerantGay Lea introduced non-dairy Coconut Whipped Cream, “made with real coconut cream”. Naturally you have to like the taste of coconut.
  • We can all use a little happiness. Is it as simple as drinking Happy Water® with lithium? A catchy name without a doubt but, does it deliver on the promise?


Birgit Blain is a packaged foods consultant specializing in strategy, brand and packaging development, to position brands for growth. Her experience includes 17 years in the grocery trade with Loblaw Companies and President’s Choice®. Learn more at

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