At CHFA West, exhibitors tout more than health

Snack foods given a new spin with boosts of fruit and veggies

The Canadian Health Food Association’s show in Vancouver this past weekend featured an array of food makers promoting healthy fare, often with a tasty twist and a good backstory.

Over 650 exhibitors displayed new products across the Vancouver Convention Centre.

As expected, gluten-free and non-GMO seals were spotted on a great deal of products. But many companies also made a point to hype their foods’ functionality and flavour.

Many exhibitors at CHFA were small family-owned companies and came not just with products but stories of their inventions.

Stephano’s Secret Stash, for example, was created by the owner’s father in the 1970s. “Some say he was the coolest cat in Killaloe, Ont.” according to the packaging. “Others think he was a great shaman. But if there is one universal truth that everyone can embrace, it’s that Stephano made some primo granola.”

Secret Stash, by the way, is loaded with hemp, chia, amaranth and quinoa.

Dave’s Killer Bread, which hails from Milwaukie, Ore., was developed by a man named Dave Dahl who changed his life after being sentenced to state prison four times for a total of 15 years.

Upon release, Dahl was welcomed back to his family’s bakery. He reformulated the company’s cookie line and set out to create the ultimate healthy bread. The result is what the company calls, “The best bread in the universe.”

Several snack food companies at CHFA talked up the fact that their products contained added fruit.

Veggie-Go in Boulder, Colo., for instance, had chewy fruit and veggie snacks that boasted half a serving of fruit and half a serving of vegetables in every strip. Flavours included combinations of berries, spinach, apples, beets, ginger and kale.

Over at Whistler, B.C-based Love Child Organics’ booth, a new range of bars was being sold alongside the company’s signature organic puree. The bars include organic fruit, along with the usual suspects of super foods: chia, quinoa and amaranth.

Ipanema Valley, meanwhile, claimed to sell the first ever all-fruit brownies, made by compressing 100 mission fruit cells together. The brownies are produced in Cachoeiras de Macacu, Brazil.

At CHFA, potato chips appeared to be a thing of the past. Companies across the floor were selling healthy chip alternatives using kale, coconut and beans, rather than potatoes.

Vancouver-based Blue Monkey released seven new flavours of coconut chips to accompany its four originals. The new flavours include mango, tumeric, sriracha and matcha.

Prairie Naturals, which got its start selling hair products, also jumped on the coconut chip train. The Coquitlam, B.C.-based company began selling coconut chips last year, and just introduced a new line of organic coconut chips topped with organic dark chocolate.

The Hardbite handcrafted chips booth promoted its Grand Prix-nominated lightly salted parsnip chips. The company, from Maple Ridge, B.C., plans to launch carrot and beet chips in May.

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