I have been attending the SIAL show for a decade, and every year, I eagerly look for the most incredible food trends and most innovative products. The last time I attended was pre-pandemic in 2019, so, obviously, I was extra excited. There were more than 1000 Canadian and International exhibitors from 50 companies looking to sell their wares, make connections and land distribution. I, on the other hand, was there to taste, investigate and make predictions on what products might take hold in the Canadian market.
From young startups pitching their fresh ideas to seasoned pros bringing their popular food items from countries like Spain and Italy, there is something for every taste. We can try to track emerging trends, find fresh ideas in packaging and food production and keep a finger on the pulse of the international food industry.
Here are my top five products that I hope will make it to Canadian shelves:
2023 is the International Year of the Millets and the array of millet products from India was fabulous. Millets encompass a diverse group of small-grained, dryland cereals including foxtail, barnyard and fonio, among others. As whole grains, millets are undoubtedly a great source of essential nutrients and are primarily grown in India. Affordable and sustainable, millets deserve a bigger place in our diet.
From desserts to packaged noodles, Millet products were everywhere and I am here for it.
We have learned that nut milk is not totally ecologically sustainable, especially nuts like almonds. Did you know that the average water footprint for just one California almond is 12 litres?? It’s no surprise, therefore, that Oatmilk and Oat milk products are taking the industry by storm. Oat milk chocolate from UK company Hip was unbelievably rich and creamy and Quebec’s Oatbox will be coming out with a fabulous Oatmilk, including a Barista version.
Plant Based Products
Plant-based fare is no longer about just being not terrible. The vegan “smoked salmon” from BY204 is absolutely delicious. I have had many versions made from carrots but nothing like this. Fingers crossed that we see this product on Ontario shelves sooner rather than later. Plant-based fish, teriyaki beef and chicken from Azuma were also pretty exciting. Vegan egg substitutes were everywhere as well.
Boba. So much boba. I am not mad about it. If I could have fit that Boba Party Kit under my shirt, I would have risked arrest to take it.
Collagen in jelly sticks or edible tubes that look like those things you suck on during a marathon, collagen is big coming out of Korea. It feels more appealing than the collagen powders out there, so we shall see if this catches on here