SIAL Innovation Finalists

Now in it’s tenth year, SIAL INNOVATION celebrates innovative products exhibited at the annual SIAL trade show. It was a pleasure to be one of eight food industry experts judging innovative products from around the globe. Here are the ten finalists, with the grand award winner to be announced at SIAL Canada on May 2nd.

Umami and mushrooms are on-trend. Sabarot’s dried mushroom mill finely grinds premium dried porcini mushrooms, adding depth of flavour to a wide variety of dishes. Makes a perfect rub for grilled meats.

Quinoa is a South American crop. After years of research Katan Kitchens developed Ontario-grown Quinta Quinoa. It’s gluten-free and packs a protein punch with 20% protein, compared to South American varieties that have 12 – 16%.

Pickled is popular and small batch Safie Crispy Dill Pickled Carrots deliver real crunch for snacking, wraps and cocktails.

Super crunchy Turbana Plantain Chips take me to the Caribbean. Available in six flavours, they claim to be a healthier alternative to potato chips, with 30% less fat.

For serious maple syrup lovers, 29 FÉVRIER Maple Syrup has an innovative 1.5 L pail with a spout. The inner bag keeps air out as the syrup is dispensed, helping to maintain shelf life, with no refrigeration required.

Mac and Cheese is classic Canadian comfort food but boxed dinners with powdered cheese mixes need extra ingredients and don’t deliver on taste. O Sole Mio Mac & Cheese Sauce is ready to use, making it easy to prepare the rich and comforting dish.

Sugar may not be on-trend but ethnic flavours are. Taj Foods Cardamom Sugar Cubes add exotic flavour to hot beverages. Also available in saffron and cinnamon.

Quinoa has gone from niche to mainstream but takes time to prepare from scratch. Now with Sabarot’s Le Petit Quinoa you just slice, fry and enjoy as a nutritious burger or side dish that’s ready in five minutes.

Vinagrerías Riojanas from Spain introduces aromatic Aliño Vermouth Vinegar, with a richness of flavour from botanicals and brandy. Drizzle over salads, grilled fish and vegetables to add complex flavours.

Canadians are choosing vegetarian options more often. Patty Fresh Roasted Beet Patties from Tiffany Gate are a nutritious and flavourful meat alternative. The convenient, pre-cooked roll slices easily for food service applications.

As a packaged foods consultant, Birgit Blain helps brands that struggle to maintain listings. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw and President’s Choice®. Contact her at or learn more at

© Birgit Blain

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