Top trends at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

GIC 2014Grocery Innovations Canada is the annual “must attend” event for professionals involved in the retail and food service industry. We were there again this year to see what’s hot and what’s not and to check out new food and beverage innovations. Here are the top five trends that jumped out at us:

1. Clean ingredient list. Consumers are looking for pronounceable ingredients. What is NOT on the label is as important to consumers as what is printed on the packaging.  More shoppers are asking for ‘natural’ or unprocessed products. We expect to see more of this “ free of ….“ focus in the future.
2. Ethnic flavours continue to be a strong trend. Food makers anticipate a growth in Asian, Indian and Latin America cuisine.
3. Supermarket Chef Showdown!   Canadians eat out often and busy shoppers are looking for help with prepared meals. Supermarket chefs showed their talents on how they create delicious and healthy meals to attract food loving grocery shoppers. In the Globe and Mail Marina Strauss reports on this fast growing grocery-resto or takeout trend calling it the “Grocerant”
4. Chocolate, Chia and Coconut were notable ingredient trends. New product innovations with chocolate included baked goods, lactose free chocolate milk (Natrel) and chocolate flavoured peanut butter (Kraft).  Chia seeds were introduced in new yogurts (Olympic), cereals and breads. (Chia seeds are similar to flax seed and contain omega-3 fats and boost fibre.) Coconut was featured in whipped cream from Gay Lea Foods, and in Campbell’s Thai Tomato Coconut Soup.
5. Go Green theme was evident in several sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations. For example “Green” shopping bags are made of material that resists bacterial growth and the Green Lid bins are completely compostable containers made from recyclable cardboard and newsprint.

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