VANCOUVER – Canada has, historically, been a follower when it comes to food industry innovation.
Clearly, however, times are starting to change.
In recent years we have seen many innovative brands, product concepts, and progressive trends coming out of “The Great White North.” For example, Mid-Day Square, a Montreal-based brand, has made significant inroads into the U.S. through its innovative, refrigerated functional chocolate concept and clever marketing.
Similarly, brands like Love Good Fat, Nuts for Cheese, Blume, and Stellar Eats are all making a strong presence in the competitive U.S. market with an already established Canadian presence.
Canada is a great market to incubate a brand and test the concept before making significant investments to raise capital. One recent event – the Canada Health Food Association NOW (Natural, Organic, and Wellness) gathering in Vancouver – put several industry trends on display.
Here are five key takeaways from the CHFA event. …
A Fun Take on Gut Health
Gut health continues to be a big theme this year, with the focus primarily on active probiotics and how care has been put into preserving such probiotics.
Tofino Kombucha mentioned the organic ingredients used to create their kombucha with fun flavors like Jasmine, Turmeric, and Apricot. Squamish Water Kefir Pop noted the fun process of making their delicious kefir water with probiotics into sparkling water kefir, pure water kefir, and frozen probiotic pops. Meanwhile, Cove Gut Healthy Soda is the first ever zero-sugar soda made with 1 billion probiotics and a proprietary plant blend to sweeten their drinks.
Regenerative Sea Plants
Impact Original Algae Bar has created a delicious line of bars that are centered on algae, due to its numerous benefits for people and the planet.
Spirulina algae are very easy to grow and are high in omega-3 as well as antioxidants. The bars come in approachable flavors like cocoa & cocoa nib, along with sunflower seed & sea salt.
Tastier, Nostalgic Gluten-Free Treats
Delivery on taste is the main priority for some brands with nostalgic, gluten-free favorites like sourdough bread, bagels, granola chunks, and frostings.
Alkeme Sour Dough Bread focuses on the overall texture and flavor delivery of their sourdough bread. Ohh Allergen Free Frosting is the first frosting on the market that delivers a soft, creamy texture that’s also vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy free. Queen Street Bakery Superfood Bagels with benefits (chia seeds, millet seed, sorghum, fava bean, white bean, and flax seed) also delivered the right chewiness and overall flavor expectations for bagels. More Granola Snackable Chunks deliver on the chunky granolas with dessert-forward flavors like pecan pie, salted caramel, and hot cocoa.
Additionally, Flourish Protein pancake & waffle mix offers 11 grams of protein per serving and 9 grams of fiber per serving that are made with fava bean flour.
New Turn on Yerba Mate
Canadian innovators are transforming the taste profile and delivery of the traditional South American caffeine-rich infused herbal drink yerba mate.
Mate Libre’s delicious line of yerba mate energy infusion has an approachable taste and fruitful flavors that deliver all the health benefits of yerba mate. Waisamama’s Guayusa Tea is another cold brew tea that delivers on taste. Guayusa is native to the Amazon rainforest and the same family as yerba mate.
Plant-Based Getting Comfortable
Comfort food was the theme for plant-based products at CHFA in Vancouver this year.
Gusta Fish Free Tuna is trying to change how we think about a tuna salad, for example. Nuts For Cheese Cream Cheese style spread is a plant-based solution for spreading on bagels or for making dips. NoochPop popcorn is seasoned with nutritional yeast for the vegan cheesy taste of popcorn.
And, finally, Konscious Kale Gomae Onigiri is a game changer for frozen food and for sushi-based rice comfort food.
Raman said engaging customers goes beyond finding the right deal: It’s about finding the right way to deliver the deal to create the greatest impact, recommending grocers use analytics to predict and protect profitability.
About the Author
Joseph Chen is the CEO of research management and insight consultancy Leo & Dragon, and previously worked for the likes of Mondelez International, McDonald’s, Hershey, Unilever, and Kraft.
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