Expo offers trendy tastes
Look for flavour combos, pulses
A Vancouver-based natural soda, kimchee Brussels sprouts, ajvar from Macedonia — these are some of the latest food products that may be coming soon to grocery shelves near you.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Vancouver Convention Centre will be transformed into a cutting-edge foodie haven as it hosts the annual Grocery Specialty Food West, Western Canada’s only grocery exhibition. About 3,000 grocery executives and buyers will be given a sneak peek into new products and innovations.
Last year, sriracha was a hit, said Thomas Barlow, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. This year, some trends that could capture consumers’ imaginations — and tastebuds — include unique flavour combinations, pulses and non-dairy milks.
“We’ve seen a move in the last few years into unique and innovative flavour combinations,” Barlow said. “This year, we are going to see people push it even further with different jams and things like blackberry ginger ale.”
Organic, natural food remains a strong trend, said Barlow. Data shows gluten-free products may have hit its peak last year, with sales starting to taper off. “There’s still a big consumer base for it, but we are not going to see the growth like it had the last few years.”
Barlow highlighted strong interest in non-dairy milk alternatives that’s not soy, such as oat milk, coconut milk, rice milk or nut milks. He also predicted a higher profile for pulses like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas — which have been dubbed 2016’s super food.
Michael Giudi of Bosa Foods said today’s consumer is bettereducated with more cosmopolitan palates. While the Vancouver-based specialty foods importer has traditionally focused on Italian products, it has expanded its product line in recent years to other parts of the Mediterranean and South America to keep pace with shifting demand. “People in today’s market are looking at production dates, expiry dates, they want the full meal deal,” said Guidi. “And if people are paying for higher-quality products, they certainly want to have access to the best, and that means bringing in products from around the world.”
Some of Bosa’s lineup at the conference included protein-packed organic grains such as quinoa and amaranth, sourced from Peru, as well as jams and ajvar, a red pepper spread, from Macedonia.
We’ve seen a move in the last few years into unique and innovative flavour combinations.