Canada's in SIAL, eh?

Canadian companies have strong presence at gigantic Paris expo

Often referred to as the world’s largest food and beverage tradeshow, more than 150,000 industry food professionals are expected to attend SIAL Paris over the next few days.

With more than 100 exhibiting countries, a visit to the show—which started Sunday and runs until Oct. 23—can be overwhelming. But no matter where you’re from, it's easy to find a little slice of home amidst the 6,300 exhibitors.

Close to 100 Canadian companies are present at the show, with a particularly strong presence in the meat pavilion; 40 meat companies alone, including Canada Beef and Maple Leaf Foods are present. The Canadian pavilion showcases a veritable cornucopia of Canadiana, including maple syrup, blueberries, pulses and, of course, beer.

Here's a snapshot of a selection of the Canadian exhibitors and their products:

Company: Kii Naturals
Product: Kii natural crisps
History at SIAL: first-time exhibitor
Vaughan, Ont.-based Kii Naturals features bite-sized crackers in unique flavours, such as goji berry with pistachio and cranberry pumpkin seed. Sujay Shah, president and CEO, recommends the dark chocolate and cherry-flavoured version. “I call it the ‘date cracker,’”he says. “It’s romantic, and pairs well with wine.” A SIAL newbie, Shah says he’s had a steady stream of potential customers at his booth.

Company: Taste of Nature
Product: Organic Food bar
History at SIAL: veteran exhibitor
Taste of Nature has been around for 20 years, and while it’s based in Markham, Ont., it’s distributed internationally. SIAL gives the company an opportunity to re-connect with its international customers in person, said a spokesperson.

Company: MMLC
Product: Artisanal maple syrup
History at SIAL: first-time exhibitor
MMLC has double exposure at the show, with a booth in Canada’s International pavilion and exposure in the organic pavilion. MMLC focuses on two areas, says Louise Dubreuil, president and CEO. The first is on quality of its maple syrup, and the second is on incorporating art into the product. MMLC has partnered with three artists who design one-of-a-kind glass carafes for the syrup. Dubreuil says you're not likely to find these products in grocery stores, but she's using SIAL to help connect with international distributors and hopes to connect with more artists as well.

Company: Terra Beata
Product: Dried cranberries and cranberry juice
History at SIAL: third time exhibiting
Terra Beata is a true family business. The company began with one farm in Nova Scotia and has since expanded to 15 across Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. Its products are currently available in grocery stores across Sobeys Atlantic Canada stores, as well as Sobeys Ontario. As of this month, its products are also available in Co-op Atlantic stores.

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