Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one

Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one

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Grocery Innovations Canada is Canada’s premier grocery exhibition and conference developed by industry professionals, for industry professionals. This trade only event is dedicated to the entire Canadian grocery industry and is the largest one of its kind. It was held October 25-26, 2022. In September, I had the opportunity to attend Groceryshop in Las Vegas for its excellent line-up of speakers. As a result, I attended GIC on October 26th to walk the exhibit floor to see which products grabbed my attention. I saw innovations from long-time favourites and brand-new ideas at the show. As a result, I am writing a two-part series. Let’s explore the four I’m featuring in my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one.


Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co.

This is a long-time favourite! I met Chef Mark Pollard founder of sprucewood handmade cookie co over a decade ago at a tradeshow (can’t remember which one there have been so many). Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of the sprucewood handmade cookie co products. Especially the savoury cocktail collection shortbreads!

Here are the highlights:

  • Known as “Canada’s Best Shortbread” according to Canadian Living Magazine and the Globe and Mail.
  • Made in Canada with 95% all-Canadian ingredients.
  • Small batches baked from scratch with the finest high-quality ingredients.
  • Only five ingredients in each recipe.
  • No artificial flavours or preservatives.
  • A variety of sweet and savoury flavours with cocktail options like Canadian Cheddar, plus a new Dark Chocolate Collection. Also, festive and seasonal options including Holiday Cognac Shortbread.

At GIC, I sampled my new favourite, the Herbes de Provence & Aged Cheddar. They are delicious! The Herbes de Provence is a subtle (not overpowering) complement to the 4-yr Canadian white cheddar. That flavour has replaced my previous favourite Canadian Cheddar! Most importantly, those two cocktail collections have zero sugar, 4 grams of protein and 140 calories in a serving size of three. The products are available in retail, online and at the bakery in Coburg, Ontario. Cheers!


Himalayan BRINE EGG

What the heck is a Himalayan BRINE EGG? Hint: Remember National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation turkey scene? Well, this is a product that brines and naturally tenderizes poultry. My colleague and friend Richard Baker introduced me to his client Ed Abramowitz, President International Sales, JAABCO Global Inc out of New York City. Ed explained to me that the Himalayan BRINE EGG is the newest product in the SALTEAN™ Chef Secret Himalayan Pink Salt line-up for poultry.

Here are the highlights:

  • The EGG brines and naturally tenderizes the bird.
  • Adds natural saltiness to the bird.
  • Imparts delicate flavour to the bird.
  • Holds high temperature during the cooking process.
  • It is easy to clean and is naturally antimicrobial for multi-use.

Himalayan salt is touted for having numerous minerals that are beneficial to health. With years of experience and commitment to excellence, SALTEAN™ has developed environmental practices to mine, prepare and pack they Himalayan Salt in its pristine, natural and organic condition. The BRINE EGG is available at American Retailers. Ed and Richard are in the process of launching it in Canadian Retail.


Refresh Packaging – Compostable Creations

In my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one, I’m featuring a nonedible. It’s compostable food wrap! My colleague and friend Richard Baker introduced me to his client Christine Reyes, founder of Refresh Packaging – compostable creations located in Calgary. Christine and her team (including her husband) were featuring their newest innovations of zipper close food storage bags and compostable cling wrap at GIC.

Here are the highlights of the zipper close food storage bags:

  • A variety of sizes are perfect for storing meats, fruits and veggies.
  • They are easy to close and reseal. Each bag has a large area to easily label.
  • They are FDA approved and freezer safe.
  • This environmentally friendly solutions mean you no longer need to purchase expensive containers to store food.
  • 100% certified Compostable, these bags add zero plastic to the environment and carry the Seedling certification. This means they are safe for home composting. The bags break down in less than 84 days. 

Refresh packaging is on a mission to offer compostables that support huge waste reduction initiatives. Not only to reduce what is in the landfills but to reduce harmful greenhouse gases while creating a nutritious soil additive. All this while keeping life convenient and simple. The products sell online DTC (direct to consumer). Richard and Christine are in the process of launching the products in grocery Canada wide.


Williwaw- Northern Pet Products

The pet food category is on fire! Therefore, in my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one I am featuring Williwaw® – Northern Pet Products. Congrats! They received GIC 2022’s Top 10 in Grocery award. They won the best treat category. Williwaw® is a family-owned-and-operated dog biscuit bakery in Ontario.

Here are the highlights:

  • Williwaw® dog biscuits are slowly baked with local ingredients in small batches to help preserve nutrients and flavour.
  • Recipes are simple, low in calories, naturally preserved.
  • They have a crunchy outside and a crispy inside to help support dental health.
  • The snacks are packaged in a compostable bag and shipped in merchandisable cases made with recycled material.
  • Williwaw® is a Zero Waste landfill bakery.

With the growing trend of increased focus on health and wellness, pet parents continue to search for healthy treat options for their dogs. These simple wheat free dog biscuits are available in four flavours: Bacon ‘N’ Cheese, Chicken ‘N’ Cheese, LiverLover, and Peanut B’Nana online and at select Ontario grocery stores.

Final Thoughts – Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part one

I was glad to see a variety of innovations from nonedibles to pet food at GIC. And not just rows and rows of saturated categories like hot sauces or plant-based nuggets! Primarily, these four stood out for me based on – innovating to keep a successful category fresh, filling a gap, creating environmentally friendly alternatives and reacting to consumer demands. Stay tuned for three more innovative products in part two posting in November!

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