At SIAL, indulgent treats and simple foods stand out

Three-day show in Montreal features products from around the world

Even with a trade show that brings together companies and consumers from over 60 different countries, there are some trends that are universal.

The Salon International d’alimentation (SIAL) Canada, Canada’s largest international food and beverage trade show, took place in Montreal’s Palais des Congres this week.

Canadian Grocer walked the trade show floor, where over 900 exhibitors showcased their products. Here are a few of the trends we came across:

 Small products, big flavour

At a presentation on global food trends, Xavier Terlet, of Paris-based food industry consultancy XTC, pointed to “small luxuries” as burgeoning. Terlet said consumers in North America and around the world are willing to spend more on a smaller product as long some aspect of it makes it premium, or luxurious.

Terlet’s point was proven on Thursday as Essence Desserts’ Assorted Chocolates (pictured above) was named the 2016 SIAL Innovation winner. These ice cream and sorbet-filled chocolates by Montreal-based Essence Glacier are available in seven flavours, including passion fruit.

Other companies on the trade show floor showed that small products can still pack a big flavour punch.

Krinos Foods showcased two new varieties of double stuffed olives, filled with almond and jalapeno and garlic and jalapeno. Kevin Benner, national sales manager, said the products are entirely new to Canada, and that the olives used are nearly twice the size of its traditional varieties.

Gaudet Sweet Foods promoted its Tartlets, which come in eight different flavours. The pies measure four inches by four inches, and shoppers are encouraged to pack them in lunch boxes.

Keep it simple

Food doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple foods made with fewer ingredients were once again everywhere at the show.

Nature’s Nate, based out of the U.S., promoted its raw, unfiltered honey. The product is 100% pure and like “having a beehive in your backyard.” While Nate was pushing its original honey product, last year the company bought another U.S. company, Tropic Bee, which allowed it to infuse its honey products with other flavours such as key lime and tangerine.

Over in the Canadian pavilion, Simply Well from Kingston, Ont. showcased Kale Salt, a seasoning meant to use in place of table salt. Ten pieces of kale are pureed in every shaker.

No need to reinvent the wheel

For many companies, the key to innovation isn’t about going in an entirely new direction; it’s about a natural progression.

Walter’s All-Natural Craft Caesar Mix has gained a lot of buzz since its Canadian launch two years ago. This week at SIAL, Walter’s sampled a new Caesar rim salt, made with flake salt, organic cane sugar, cracked black pepper and selected herbs and spices. It was a natural next step for the company, says co-founder Zack Silverman.

“It wasn’t necessarily something we were planning to do from the get-go,” said Silverman. “But customers were asking for it.”

Nongshim, a company that generally targets Korean consumers, is taking the same innovation it uses to create its most popular product, a dry noodle mix, to create products for the North American market. Nongshim has launched a line of rice pasta and soups that consumers simply need to microwave or add hot water to prepare. Flavours include creamy alfredo, classic minestrone and classic chicken noodle.

 I want it ready right now

It’s no surprise shoppers are still looking for ready-made meal options that are healthy.

Fontaine Sante released three new flavours of its ready-made salads that showcase new, trendy ingredients. Flavours include pearl couscous salad, taboule with quinoa and edamame, and yellow beet with quinoa.

According to the company, the salads were developed with research showing that 19% of North American adults have purchased items featuring ancient grains in the past 30 days, and that, in 2014, 23% of consumers brought lunch from home.

Mincavi, a Quebec-based company that has a healthy eating program similar to Weight Watchers, has partnered with celebrity chef Marjorie Maitais to release new flavours under its Bravo Deli line of ready-made meals. The refrigerated meals include Indian chicken with kale and basmati rice and Paella with chicken and Italian sausage.

The three-day SIAL show wraps up on Friday.

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