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

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

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Welcome to my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part two. I attended GIC at the end of October at the Toronto Congress Centre. GIC is a trade only event that is dedicated to the entire Canadian grocery industry. 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 to walk the exhibit floor to see which products grabbed my attention. In total, seven products stood out for me. In part one, I featured four innovative products and companies. Let’s explore the final three I’m featuring in my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part two.


Bentilia Pasta Products

In my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part two, I’m featuring a product in the gluten-free pasta space. In the past ten years, the gluten-free pasta offerings have improved immensely in taste and texture. My colleague and friend Richard Baker introduced me to Prashant Jairaj and Ashah Ruda of the Bentilia brand part of GFI (Global Food and Ingredients Ltd.) located in Toronto. Bentilia is a healthy and delicious line-up of premium, gluten-free products in the fast-growing plant-based pasta space. Their tagline is “A tastier way to wellness.”

Here are the highlights:

  • There are four varieties: three red lentil-based in penne, rotini and elbow, plus a fourth superfood ziti, Bentilia10, which includes 10 additional superfoods on top of the core red lentil ingredient.
  • The Bentilia10 ten additional superfoods include broccoli, spinach, kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, sunflower seed, cranberry, chlorella, maitake mushroom and shiitake mushroom.
  • All four varieties are non-GMO certified, kosher, gluten-free, plant-based and clean label.
  • Consumer feedback – they love the taste and texture.
  • All products are certified Plantricious.

After five years of being in the North American marketplace, the new Bentilia branding officially launched in early August 2022. Since then, it has been hitting the tradeshow and event circuit including GIC. The Bentilia team promotes you’re adding an item into your pantry that you can feel really good about and have the whole family enjoy. The products are available DTC (direct to consumer) and in retailers across North America.


Photo Credit courtesy of Caledon Farms

Caledon Farms – All natural pet treats

The pet food category is on fire! Two out of the seven products I’m showcasing in this two-part series are in pet food. In my Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2022 wrap-up part two, I am featuring Caledon Farms Protein Cookies for dogs. Caledon Farms is a division of The Crump Group, Inc., a business that has been creating healthy dog treats since 2006. They have built their reputation in the pet marketplace based on high quality, single or limited ingredients which are sourced within North America. Additionally, the products have no additives, colours, rendered meats, fillers or by-products or artificial flavours and preservatives.

Here are the highlights of the Protein Cookies for dogs:

  • The Protein Cookies are all natural, premium, Canadian-made treats, from quality ingredients, with no additives or colours.
  • They look like the cookies you would enjoy but made with dog friendly and wholesome ingredients which offer the perfect soft and chewy texture with real meat – no fillers.
  • The soft dog treats perfect for puppies or senior dogs who can’t chew hard treats.
  • Soft treats are faster and easier for your pup to eat than crunchy treats.
  • For the Holidays there are two new limited edition, holiday-themed flavours: Turkey with Cranberry and Lamb with Ginger Spice. A great gift to remind your best friend they’re part of the family.
  • As a growing number of consumers continue to seek healthy and safe treats for their furry family members, Caledon Farms dog treats offer the perfect solution. They manufacture all the products which are carefully handcrafted in small batches to ensure freshness. The products are available DTC and at retailers across Canada.


The County Bounty Artisanal Soda Co.

I met Julia at the booth and she handed me one of the best soda alternatives I’ve ever tasted. The County Bounty began as a market garden organic vegetable farm in 2016 outside of Picton in Prince Edward County. In 2018, Dodie Ellenbogen launched the sodas as a farm value-added product, and it spread like wildfire! As the soda operation scaled up, Dodie and her partner, along with their son moved to Napanee to acquire a larger facility. Dodie has not forgotten her roots as a farmer. As a result, she continues to support local farmers by sourcing Ontario-grown ingredients for the sodas.

Here are the highlights:

  • Made in Ontario with locally grown fruits (when possible).
  • Interesting, refreshing flavours like raspberry and lime (my favourite).
  • The sodas are lightly carbonated.
  • All natural or no preservatives.
  • Sweetened with fair-trade cane sugar. Up to 50 per cent less sugar compared to other leading soda brands.
  • The County Bounty in on a mission to offer their team of five employees at least a living wage (although usually more). They are employed for a four-day work week. All full-time staff have benefits. County Bounty can implement these quality-of-life measures thanks to folks buying their products DTC and at Ontario Retailers.

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

I was glad to see a variety of innovations at GIC. Primarily, these final three stood out for me based on – innovating to offer better tasting options in both the gluten-free pasta and soda categories, plus reacting to consumer demands for healthy, premium quality pet treats.

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