Fab finds at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

3 Oct

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A few days ago I had the opportunity to attend Grocery Innovations Canada, an industry conference and trade show hosted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. I love to learn about new products and I’m also obsessed with food packaging, so I look forward to this show every year. I should explain that grocery shopping is a huge passion of mine. One of my favourite post-work activities is wandering the aisles of grocery stores (yes, I’m serious). Even when I’m on vacation, I seek out local and chain grocery stores, just to check out their products. So when I got to the show, it was one of those scenarios where I walked in and I was so excited to be there that I didn’t know where to start : )

Warning – this is going to be a LONG post. Not long in words but long because of the number of products I’ll be talking about. Note: Some of the products pictured below aren’t new but the brands were showing them again as a reminder to retailers and media that they are available. Here we go….

For those who follow a gluten-free diet, there’s a gluten-free version of Cream of Rice in market. I didn’t get to sample it but I thought I would share this info for those who enjoy the product. Learn more here: http://www.creamofwheat.com/products/cream-of-rice/

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I love mushroom risotto and I’ve made it at home several times. It’s an easy dish to make but it’s just very time-consuming so I was happy to find out about In Cuisin’s Mushroom Risotto. I’ve seen it in the freezer section many times (often on sale) but I had never tried it. I had a hot sample of the risotto and it was delicious! There was an assortment of mushrooms in it and the rice was just the right texture. In my opinion, for a frozen dish it was as close to restaurant style as you could get. I’ll definitely be picking this up to keep in the freezer for a last-minute lunch or dinner. Learn more here: http://infoodsinc.com/en/products/in-cuisin-risotto/mushroom-risotto/

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Coffee + coconut water? Yes, it’s true. The fine folks at Vita Coco have combined coconut water with espresso and a splash of milk to create a mighty tasty drink. I was surprised by how good it was (Apologies for the poor photo!). Vita Coco was also showing their flavoured coconut waters – I enjoyed the mango and pineapple flavours the most. Learn more here: http://vitacoco.com/products/vita-coco-cafe/#cococafe
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Robin Hood showed some quick bread mixes with flavours including banana bread and lemon poppy seed bread. This looks like a great idea for those who wish to make quick breads at home without the effort of scratch baking. While they weren’t giving out samples of the baked breads to try, I did receive a coupon to try the product. I’m a huge fan of Robin Hood flour, it’s the only brand I’ll buy, so I’m sure this product meets the same standards. Learn more here: http://www.robinhood.ca/Products/Mixes

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Another packaged baking product I wanted to mention are Duncan Hines Strawberry Flavoured Cupcakes, this product comes with cream cheese icing and a piping bag. I’m very big on baking from scratch but I have to say that the cupcakes I sampled were quite tasty and weren’t too sweet. Definitely a good option for some easy home baking. http://www.duncanhines.ca/products/cupcakes/strawberry-flavoured-cupcakes/

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Rotkappchen De-alcoholized Sparkling Wine….wow, I loved the taste and I thought the packaging looked quite nice as well. It’s a great option for those who wish to have a non-alcoholic beverage but don’t want to feel like they are missing out on anything. Learn more here: http://www.therealbubbly.com/products.html

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I wanted something spicy after having the cupcakes and sparkling wine so I was so happy to spot No. 7 Hot Sauce’s display. They have a range of flavourful sauces with different levels of spice, so there was really something for everyone.  The best part, they are from Toronto! Learn more here: http://no7hotsauce.com

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This was big news for me….I love the Moroccan 9 Vegetable Soup that I can buy hot and ready at Loblaws and Longo’s. I found out that the supplier was Campbell’s and I was thinking of asking them to sell the soup in cans and voila…my wish was granted when I visited their display at the show! I bought a can of the soup after the show and I’m having it right now. While it is close to their Campbell’s FoodService version, it isn’t 100% the same. I’ll still keep a can or two in my cupboard to squash the cravings as needed though. Learn more here: http://www.campbellsoup.ca/en-ca/products/everyday-gourmet/campbells-everyday-gourmet-moroccan-spiced-eight-vegetable-chickpea

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Next up, Supereats Kale + Chia Chips. I enjoyed these, they were tasty, nice and crunchy and left me feeling satisfied. I’m look for these at my local health food store. Learn more here: http://www.supereats.com

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Another tasty chip, Luke’s Organic Protein Chips with blue corn and red lentils. Also really tasty, especially considering the fact that they are “healthy” chips. Another one to look out for in health food stores. Learn more here: http://www.lukesorganic.com

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Mmmm Wonderful Pistachios! These aren’t new but I love their variations on the humble little pistachio. I tried their Sweet Chili pistachios for the first time and I was kicking myself for not trying them earlier, they were so good! I also loved the salt and pepper flavour, it’s simple but oh so tasty. Can we just talk about their cute packaging for a minute? It’s eye-catching and very fresh. Go get some, now. Learn more here: http://getsnackin.ca

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I’m looking forward to trying the Blueapple, a product that was made to help keep fruits and vegetables fresher for longer in the fridge. Learn more here: http://www.thebluapple.com/how-it-works

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These aren’t new but I thought I would share since there is a huge slow cooker movement right now. These liners make cleanup easy, you just line the cooker, make your dish and then just pull the liner out and toss it after. Learn more here: http://www.reynoldskitchens.com/products/slow-cooker-liners/

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KitchenAid was showing their new Produce Preserver, designed to help keep produce fresher for longer. I received a sample of this so I’m really looking forward to testing it out. Stay tuned! Learn more here: http://www.kitchenaid.ca/en_CA/shop/-%5BP1KG6S1B%5D-2104325/P1KG6S1B/

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Maple water. It was the first time I had heard of it and apparently it’s the next big thing. Surprisingly it contains protein, prebiotics and antioxidants and you know what, it tasted pretty good. Not too sweet, just a fresh clean taste. Bonus points, the company is Canadian! Learn more here: http://www.eauderableseva.com/en/

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Huge news…Tassimo and McDonald’s have partnered up to create McCafe t-discs for Tassimo machines. I adore my Tassimo machine and I can’t wait to try the McCafe discs. Learn more here: https://www.tassimo.ca/en/beverages/mccafe/

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Greek yogurt with chia mixed in from Olympic Dairy (they’re Canadian!). A great option for vegetarians who want to add more protein in their diets. Learn more here: http://www.olympicdairy.com/index.php

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Two more great products from Sol Cuisine – the first one is their Tangy Korean BBQ Meatless Chicken. I liked the flavours and the texture of the meatless chicken was great. Their Veggie Breakfast Sausages were great too, they would be perfect in a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and tomato. (my favourite sandwich combo). I’ll definitely pick up both of these next time I’m at the grocery store. Learn more here: http://solcuisine.com/canadian-retail

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I loved these Korean filled pancakes (called Hotteok) from Arumi. I tried both the Hotteok Red Bean and Hotteok Brown Sugar, both were really tasty. The rep said these products are available at major Korean grocery stores in the Toronto area. The company doesn’t appear to have a website with these products on it…

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A few side items…Coca-Cola brought their “Share A Coke” machines to the show and I was able to finally get some cans made with my (full) name and my husband’s names on them. So cool! Learn more here: http://www.shareacoke.ca

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Lastly, not a product but a really cute giveaway at the show from McCain Foods. They were focusing on their frozen potato products so they handed out potato shaped stress balls. I just had to share : )

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The show was quite big, big enough that I’m sure that I missed some good finds. Luckily fellow blogger Vicky Weiss  attended as well, so please check out her blog to find out which products she loved at GIC at www.momwhoruns.com

Have you tried any of the above products? Are there any that you’re excited about?

 

 

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