Plant-based. Sustainability. Clean ingredients: These enduring food trends were highly visible at the Canadian Health Food Association’s (CHFA’s) Connect virtual trade show in September. Here are nine intriguing products that I discovered, and would love to try.
Boreal wild herb tea
Indigenous owned and operated Boreal Heartland Herbal Products sustainably harvests and hand gathers herbs in Northern Saskatchewan’s boreal forests. Their wild herb teas are caffeine free and made with traditional herbs used by First Nations for their health benefits. Wild herbs in the four tea blends include fireweed, wild mint, Labrador tea, nettle, goldenrod, sarsaparilla root, rosehip, bearberry and birch leaf.
Buck buckwheat beverage
Move over oat milk, there’s a new kid in town! Plant-based, dairy-free Buck beverage is a Canadian innovation milked from buckwheat. Although not nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk, Buck contains 17 amino acids necessary to support bodily functions. It is shelf stable with a shelf life of nine to 12 months. Buckwheat is a gluten-free pseudocereal with remarkable environmental benefits, as it needs less water to grow compared to oats, soybeans and almonds, and doesn’t require herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Saint Michael Foods in B.C. also makes dairy-free Buck gelato in four flavours.
Three Farmers roasted fava beans
Canadian prairie-based Three Farmers adds fava beans to their lineup of roasted pulse snacks. The sea salt variety has just three ingredients: fava beans, high oleic sunflower oil and sea salt. This ultimate crunchy snack packs in 13 to 14 g of protein and 8 to 9 g of fibre per ½ cup serving. It is also a source of folate, manganese and iron. Demonstrating Three Farmers’ commitment to traceability, every product has a trace code to access how and where it’s made.
Sperri Plant-Based Meal Replacement
Health Canada has stringent requirements for meal replacements, so I was skeptical about “Canada’s First organic, plant-based meal replacement”. It appears they’ve done their homework. This Canadian innovation is the brainchild of physician and pain specialist Dr. Mary Lynch and the team at Novagevity in Nova Scotia. Sperri is a complete meal replacement with all the required micro and macronutrients and is free of soy and gluten. It is sweetened with tapioca maltodextrin, tapioca syrup and maple syrup, and does not contain glucose syrup.
Superfruit Purée Wild Blueberry Purée
Blueberries are famous for being antioxidant powerhouses. Canadian-grown wild blueberries are processed in PEI through the patented “Tekmash” process using the entire fruit, with “Nothing added. Nothing taken away”, an apt tagline. Apparently, every bottle has 850+ berries (did they count them?). These versatile products have a heap of uses: add a splash of flavour and vibrant colour to beverages and smoothies, dressings, sauces and desserts. Other varieties blend blueberries with haskap berries, strawberries or cranberries.
Waspu means “seal” in the Mi’kmaq language. This pure Omega-3 oil supplement is sourced according to the principles of Mi’kmaq First Nation Indigenous peoples. Pure seal oil is a complete source of Omega-3 fatty acids, including DPA, which is not naturally occurring in fish oil, and seal oil is better absorbed by the human body, imparting no fishy aftertaste. Harp seals are humanely and sustainably harvested within quotas in Canadian waters from an abundant population estimated at 7.5 million. Proceeds from sales support indigenous communities in Canada.
Halvana Tahini Squeeze
This versatile condiment is sesame simplicity, with just one ingredient. Fire roasted sesame seeds are stone ground, as in ancient times, producing spreads with a “velvety smooth texture”. The condiment is packaged in a convenient squeeze bottle.
Ecoideas Sprouted Organic Kenari nuts
I was first introduced to kenari nuts (aka pili nuts or Pacific almonds) by a client from the Philippines. This tree nut, native to Southeast Asia, is very high in vitamin E and manganese, high in phosphorous and magnesium and a source of potassium, iron and calcium. However, the fat content (mainly saturated and monounsaturated) is higher than macadamia and Brazil nuts, so overindulgence is not recommended. Ecoideas Organic Kenari Nuts are harvested from the wild and ethically sourced.
Rossonero Wild Caught Tuna Sausages
Protein alternatives are flooding the market and seafood is one of many options. Rossonero Wild Caught Tuna Sausages are made with yellowfin tuna loin, water, extra virgin olive oil, breadcrumbs and spices, in a natural casing from beef. The tuna is sustainably harvested to MSC standards and fully traceable. This premium product from Brazil has a $19.99 SRP for four sausages.
As a CPG food consultant, Birgit Blain gets brands ready for retail. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice. Contact her at email@example.com or learn more at www.bbandassoc.com.