Convenience Sells!

Trade shows are a great way to inspire the next big idea and find suppliers. This year’s Restaurants Canada show was no exception. Convenience was a common theme and IT SELLS – be it ready-to-eat, heat-‘n’-serve, meal solutions, portion packs, portability or packaging.

Engineering food and packaging for convenience can be challenging. Here are some finds that may be applicable to your business.

Duck the Work

Uncommoditizing meat, seafood and produce by doing the prep work (cutting, seasoning, pre-cooking) adds value and convenience that consumers are willing to pay more for.

Specialty meats like duck can be intimidating for many Canadians lacking the essential know-how and time to prepare them. King Cole Ducks Ltd., forth generation duck farmers, make it easy with frozen, pre-cooked cuts like thaw-and-serve Smoked & Seasoned Duck Breast and thaw-heat-serve Fully Cooked Roast Duck à l’Orange.

convenience meal solutions
Co-packing Meal Solutions

In a rush to get dinner on the table, Canadians increasingly rely on fresh prepared meal solutions. Timval co-packs refrigerated entrées, pre-cooked in sealed trays with vacuum pasteurization and no added preservatives. Complete meals with protein, vegetables, rice or pasta and sauce, have a 30 to 45 day shelf life. A patented whistling valve takes the guesswork out of cooking, letting diners know when their meal is ready.

convenience Next Ingredients puree
Food Processing Convenience

For food processors, preparing fruit purées from scratch is labour intensive and generates food waste. Next Ingredients invested in technology to produce tropical fruit and berry purées without added sugar and preservatives. The 100% fruit purées are conveniently packed in aseptic pouches, pails and drums for industrial and food service applications.

convenience plantainTropical Ease

Ingredients native to other parts of the world provide an opportunity for innovation. Plantains are a food staple in the Caribbean, parts of Africa and South America. Baked or fried they lend a tropical flavour to entrées and desserts, with versatility ranging from savoury to sweet.

MIC Food transforms the commodity crop into easy, heat and serve pre-cooked plantain – whole, sliced, diced or mashed – that’s ready to eat in 3 minutes. Frozen prepared plantains are available as an ingredient for food processors.

convenience packagingPackaging for Portability

Eating on the run can be tricky without a third hand. An innovative drink-topper solves the problem. Happy Bowls are designed to fit on top of drink cups, cans and bottles, so you can carry your drink and snack in one hand and eat with the other.

What big problem will YOU solve?

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

This article appeared in Food in Canada.

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