news & trends

Top Trends at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

Grocery 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, as well as 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.

DAGs – the secret ingredient in healthy chocolate

Researchers at the University of Guelph have found a way to develop a healthy chocolate. The secret ingredient? DAGs! DAGs are short for special fats called diglycerides. Compared to triglycerides (TAGs) which have three fatty acid “arms’ in its structure, DAGs only have two fatty acid “arms.” DAGs make up around 10% of the fats found in vegetable oils and are metabolized differently than TAGs. Scientists found that components of DAGs are not stored in fat cells but are used as energy instead. This means that DAGs help burn fat. Also, since DAGs are smaller compounds, when moving in the blood stream they won’t clog the arteries and veins in the same way as the larger TAGs. Many products have been developed in an attempt to improve the fat quality or reduce the fat quantity, and DAG’s are an exciting new ingredient to keep an eye on especially when it comes to melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.

Implications for your business:  Fats play an important role in food, so choosing the best type and amount can add taste, health and nutrition to your product.