Innovation is the lifeblood of a brand. Packaged food brands need to innovative to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing market. Relying solely on “regular flavour” offerings is not enough, although they typically represent about 80% of a brand’s sales.
For inspiration, look to the restaurant industry, the birthplace of many trends. Here’s a sampling of innovations and trends from the 2014 CRFA show, Canada’s biggest event for the restaurant industry.
KiKi Maple Sweet Water® beverages, made in Canada with our own maple sap, are a refreshing source of 80+ micronutrients, prebiotics and antioxidants. Just slightly sweet, they’re available in maple and 3 maple/fruit blends.
Maple Milk from Natrel® gives kids a tasty reason to drink milk.
Taste for Luxury imports Truffle Pearls from Italy – a gourmet delight with the taste of truffles and texture of caviar. Their NoH2O finely sliced Dehydrated Alba White Truffles awaken when added to warm dishes, releasing the true truffle flavour.
A truly Canadian innovation from Niagara-on-the-Lake, with the sweetness and flavour of ice wine and versatility of maple syrup.
More flavourful than Canada Dry, Powell & Mahoney’s Ginger Drink & Mixer makes a refreshing and invigorating beverage with or without alcohol.
Real ginger enlivens Iroquois Cranberry Growers’ Cranberry Juice with Ginger.
Backerhaus Veit’s authentic Pretzel Buns, made with traditional pretzel dough, stand up to saucy meat fillings. And they’re great with beer. I see hearty German comfort food on the trend horizon.
InHarvest blends artisan grains like farro and amaranth with coloured rices and legumes, boosting nutrition, colour and texture to elevate side dishes and mains to a whole new level.
Healthy, vibrant, colourful and versatile, beets are popping up on menus.
Cooking under vacuum locks in the flavour, colour and nutrients of food. It’s the ideal concept for today’s time-starved consumers. If Canadians could just get over the negative image of “boil-in-bag”. For food service operators, Nobly™ steamed sous vide vegetables, legumes, fruit and grains are fully cooked, taking the time, labour and waste out of prepping.
Taking the snack category up a notch, kale is the new potato chip. Loaded with nutrients it adds colour, texture and a unique taste to soups, salads, side dishes or mains. Sadly, consumers are intimidated by the prep work required for fresh kale. The solution, skillet-ready COOKIN’ GREENS™, take the work out of prepping and cooking.
When Starbucks gets in the game with Teavana tea bars, you know it’s a trend with legs. Tea is bursting out of the confines of black, green and herbal. Premium artisan tea brand “Tea Squared” offers over 100 blends of fragrant, sensual and stimulating loose leaf tea. So, sip a cup of artisan tea and envision how the flavour can transcend to other food categories.
Numi® Organic Tea introduced savory teas blended with vegetables, wild herbs, decaf tea and aromatic spices.
MATCHA (not macho)
Convenient pre-mixed Matcha green tea powder invigorates beverages and smoothies. Cooking grade Matcha has a stronger flavour that shines through in desserts and baked goods.
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 Birgit@BBandAssoc.com. Check out this recent rebranding project.
© Birgit Blain