Canadian Food Innovators

Photo-pureesAt this year’s CHFA Show in Toronto, some Canadian brands stood out as true innovators. Here are two companies that impressed me.

For Canadian Prairie Garden Purées simple isn’t always easy. Creating nutritious processed foods with clean ingredients, extended shelf life and shelf stable storage capabilities is a tall order. When it requires the development of innovative food processing technology, it’s the ultimate challenge.

Innovator and entrepreneur

It all started with Kelly Beaulieu, a member of the Sandy Bay First Nations, growing up on the family farm in Manitoba, Canada. Today she’s a professional agrologist armed with a BSc in Agriculture (Horticulture) and over 20 years agri-business experience. Kelly has the vision and drive to overcome the challenges of true innovation.

Locking in the goodness

Canadian Prairie Garden Puréeprepares premium non-GMO vegetable, legume and berry purées for the food processing industry. What you get is a pure purée, without added preservatives, flavours or colours. The secret is in the processing method. Locally grown produce is processed in a flash (for just 4 – 20 seconds) with proprietary “steam infusion cooking technology”, preserving the high nutrient content, colour and taste. Packed in aseptic bags and totes, the purées are shelf-stable with a 2 year shelf life.

Consumer Solutions

As a packaged food specialist, I see an opportunity for a forward-thinking food company to market these innovative products in retail channels. The highly versatile purées are ideal for soups, sauces, desserts, baby food and smoothies. What could be easier for today’s health conscious consumers?

Photo-KarmaffinU-Be-Livin-Smart™, founded in 2012, is on a roll to building a sustainable brand. Their values embrace honest nutrition and ethical marketing.

A team with a passion for giving back, corporate social responsibility is integrated into their business model. Their innovative Feed 88M™ Program is all about nourishment. “Our goal is to feed 88 million undernourished, underprivileged people over the next 10 years.  With every purchase, we will feed one person in your community with our nutrient dense products.” So far they have fed more than 60,000.

Gluten-free CAN be nutritious and taste great

Traditional muffins are loaded with calories, fat and sugar, but not U-Be-Livin-Smart™ amazing Karmaffins®. Honest to goodness, they are moist, rich, flavourful and satisfying, without the dry, gritty mouth feel, excess sugar and fat found in many gluten-free products. Best of all, they are nutrient dense, with 9 grams of protein, at least 4 grams of fibre, a whole serving of REAL fruits and vegetables and only 130 to 140 calories each. It sounds too good to be true. The secret is in the clean ingredient list and a “proprietary super food blend” of sweet potatoes, avocado, a mélange of fruits, egg whites and whey protein isolate.

Candy can be good for you too!

U-Be-Livin-Smart™ just launched healthy candy, REALLY! Im(possible) Healthy Candy™ with one serving of superfruits and 8 grams protein per serving, and no refined sugars.

True innovation is about pushing the envelope, doing the seemingly impossible. U-Be-Livin-Smart™ proves it can be done.

Building a sustainable brand

Both of these Canadian companies recognize that innovation is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable brand. I wish them well in their journey.

As a packaged foods specialist, Birgit Blain transforms food into retail-ready products. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice®. Contact her at Check out this recent rebranding project.

© Birgit Blain

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