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St. Hubert bites into new poutine product

Poutine Bites are a commercialized version of regionally famous dish

Fifty years after its now-famous barbeque sauce went on sale in grocery stores, Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert has launched a new product based on another iconic Quebec food.

St. Hubert's Poutine Bites hit supermarket shelves across la belle province this month.

Next month, the 335-gram frozen product, which retails for $9.99, will be rolled out across Canada.

"They're amazing (and) really fun to eat," said Annik Labrosse, vice-president of marketing at the retail division of St. Hubert.

"It's like a little surprise, having poutine inside a crispy ball," she added.

According to Labrosse, the new product is a commercialized version of a regionally famous dish and the recipe created a decade ago by a chef in Sherbrooke, Danny St. Pierre.

It was St. Pierre, she added, who came knocking on St. Hubert's door two years ago with a proposal to bring his brainchild to a wider audience.

"He told us he loved the St. Hubert brand, which he grew up with as a kid," said Labrosse.  "We were immediately taken with the idea, because it's perfect strategic fit with our products."

Of course Poutine Bites are not exactly like the originals handmade by St. Pierre. Bread crumbs, for example, were added to the potato flake-laden crust in order to withstand processing, packaging and transport. The sauce inside the bites is also now St. Hubert's own branded sauce.

"We think consumers will love them," said Labrosse. "They're a fun way to enjoy poutine."

Laval, Que.-based St. Hubert has 80 restaurants in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and takes its name from the Montreal street where its first rotisserie location opened in 1955.

Canned versions of the company's original chicken barbecue sauce first went on sale in Quebec grocery stores in 1965.

Today, some 130 St. Hubert-branded products are sold in supermarkets, including sauces, soups, fresh items such as salads and coleslaws, as well as frozen products like chicken wings, brochettes, nuggets, and pies.

The company also sells mozzarella sticks and what Labrosse said is the most popular poutine sauce in Canada.

"Poutine is part of our DNA," said Labrosse.

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