SIAL Virtual Selections

I love the thrill of the hunt for new products and nibbling through food trade shows. This year SIAL Canada presented an entirely new experience that meant cruising the show virtually, without the customary sensory stimulation.

Healthier eating and indulgence continue to be dominant themes. Here’s a peek at new products that sparked my interest, with most satisfying a need.

Not having had an opportunity to sample them, I assume they deliver on taste. This is not intended to be a product endorsement.

Turn up the heat!

SIAL Fork & Leaf

To help cooks get a better result CHO America serves up a selection of non-GMO, healthy oil blends tailored to specific cooking techniques. Fork & Leaf sautéing, frying and roasting oil blends each have the appropriate smoke point for the task. Ingredients include expeller pressed Non-GMO canola oil, high oleic sunflower oil, first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil and avocado oil.  

Honey from Sweet to Sour

SIAL 2020 honey vinegar

Although apple cider vinegar has scored high in Google trends since 2017, it’s not particularly tasty. So the beekeepers at Maple Bee Nectar created Honey Vinegar they say has the “same health benefits, MUCH better taste”. It starts with 100% raw Canadian honey. Once fermented it has zero sugar and zero calories. The long list of anecdotal health benefits includes digestive health and relief from acid reflux but wouldn’t pass muster with Health Canada without scientific evidence.

Citadelle Breaks with Tradition

SIAL 2020 SmartKlear bottle

Maple syrup is customarily sold in glass bottles. Although glass provides an excellent oxygen barrier, it has disadvantages: it’s breakable and the weight adds to transportation costs. Citadelle solves the problem with the SmartKlear™ bottle. The patented “breakthrough technology” is superior to conventional plastic bottles, with very low oxygen transmission to preserve the rich, amber colour of the syrup. The recyclable PET jug is lighter than glass, reducing transportation costs. Also available in a rectangular format that merchandises more efficiently, saving space on shelf and in the warehouse. SmartKlear™ can be used for branded and private label products.

Food Safety First 

SIAL 2020 Inneo

Laboratoire Innodal introduced Inneo Anti-Listeria Solution, a natural antimicrobial targeting Listeria ssp during food processing. It is designed to replace artificial additives without affecting product integrity and sensory. Natural antimicrobial solutions are also available to reduce Salmonella spp and E. coli risks. According to the company, these processing aids meet clean label requirements.

Truffles Meet Fruit

SIAL 2020 Truffettes

Chocmod, makers of traditional French truffles, are stirring up the confectionary set with a new indulgence, Truffettes de France Snacking Chocolate; bite-sized soft truffles with pieces of fruit (fig and mango) and crispy quinoa, enrobed in white chocolate. Claims include no artificial colours, no preservatives, gluten-free, and no palm oil.

Playful Snacking

SIAL 2020 Yo Yos

BEAR was born from the desire to help families snack healthfully and eat more fruit. What makes BEAR Yo Yos 100% Fruit & Veg Rolls different? It’s what’s NOT in them. They’re just fruit and vegetables with the fibre, baked until dried, cut and rolled. Nothing else is added. Other brands use fruit juice and purée concentrates, adding a mélange of ingredients like sweeteners, gumming agents, fillers, flavours and colours.

Breakfast Surprise!

SIAL 2020 veg waffles

Les Snorôs Waffles have a secret: hidden, ugly vegetables. In fact they are made with 50% vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes and zucchini), whole wheat flour, ground flax seed and milk protein concentrate for fibre and protein. Developed by a chef, Les Snorôs Vegetable Waffles pair well with sweet and savory toppings. Just pop frozen waffles into the toaster for breakfast, lunch or snacking.

What is Ryazhenka?

SIAL 2020 Ryazhenka

I first tasted ry-a-zhen-ka at the Restaurants Canada show in 2016. The traditional fermented beverage from Ukraine and Russia, also known as “baked milk”, is slow-cooked until thickened and the natural sugars are caramelized. M-C Dairy Grass Fed Organic Ryazhenka raises the bar. It’s the only ryazhenka made with A2 protein milk from Jersey cows, which may be easier to digest for those with dairy sensitivity and is higher in protein and calcium than regular Holstein milk. Give it a try!

Taking Baby Steps

Food allergies are a growing concern for parents. Conventional wisdom has been turned on its head by the Canadian Paediatric Society, which now recommends introducing infants to common food allergens. 

That motivated start-up Pharmallergen to launch Foodztep, a kit containing powders of eight common food allergens (haddock, soy, egg, peanut, milk, almond, wheat and shrimp) to acclimate infants. Sounds like a great idea but not without health risks. There is no mention on the website about whether a Paediatrician was involved in the development of the product. With a product such as this, it’s critical to build credibility and trust.

As a CPG food consultant, Birgit Blain helps clients think strategically to build a sustainable brand. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice®. Contact her at or learn more at

© 2020 Birgit Blain

This article appeared in FOOD IN CANADA.

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