Food Trends at Grocery Showcase West 2012!

Food Trends at Grocery Showcase West 2012!

I recently attended the Grocery Showcase West (GSW) at the Vancouver Convention Centre last weekend. It’s where all the Western Canadian grocery entrepreneurs connect with retailers and buyers that can take their products to household names. I’m not an independent grocer or a retailer, but I was here to scout out what’s new.

I already wrote my top 10 Vancouver Food Trends for 2012 and my top 10 Vancouver Dessert Trends for 2012, but there are always so many more. Again, I don’t really like calling them “trends”, but they are more or less just popular items or new ideas and products in the food scene right now. That, or they just have the budgets to be part of the show, or the complete opposite and are the ones looking for their big break. Regardless, this is what I noticed and these are the things that caught my interest, although there were over 400 grocers involved.

I don’t want to be a “product pusher” and I’m not suggesting you go buy any of these, but I tried a lot of things that day and these are ones I found interesting. I encourage you to do further research on other brands and find the ones that suit your needs best. On a more general note, one of the major themes I grasped was slow and healthy food made fast. Everyone wants to be healthy, but nobody has the time!

Listed in no particular order.

1. Coconut

There was coconut galore. Thank you Dr. Oz for promoting it on your show. There were about 5 brands of coconut water, coconut ice cream, coconut milk and coconut oil. Personally, I love coconut so my eyes naturally drew to these products, but there was no doubt a coconut theme throughout. Although I saw coconut in all forms, coconut palm sugar was the one of interest to me. I haven’t experimented with it yet, but I want to.

The one from Organika is a natural sweetener made from 100% natural coconut palm sugar. It’s healthier than refined cane sugar and made from pure coconut palm nectar unlike some other coconut sugars. The quality of coconut sugar varies greatly, so do your research. It’s a 1:1 replacement for regular sugar and it has a nutty caramel flavour similar to light brown sugar. Organika is vegan, gluten-free, certified organic and sustainable as to why I chose to feature this brand.

2. Kale Chips

I mentioned kale at the end of my post for Vancouver Food Trends 2012. Kale chips in particular started to get popular last year, but the comeback for kale in general is strong. It’s no longer a cheap hotel garnish, but actually used significantly in the current dining scene. From deep fried kale to deep fried kale, the secret to kale is to deep fry it. I actually enjoy kale braised, deep fried and even raw, but I can understand it’s not for everyone because it can be bitter.

The ones above are Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips and they are not baked or fried. These chips are dehydrated or “air crisped” at a low temperature so they maintain their RAW living enzymes and nutritional potency. It’s the whole RAW food thing, and they are available in Ranch, Nacho, Mango Habanero and more. They do an excellent job with the hand crafted seasonings made with organic vegetables, herbs, spices and natural juices. They were actually really flavourful and the sodium content wasn’t bad either – see here. I loved them.

3. Pesto in a Bag

This isn’t a “trend”, but I just liked it and I still remember it. It is healthy food fast though. I know. As “gourmets” many of us like making our own pesto, as do I, but sometimes when you need it quick, the premade stuff does the job fine. I actually buy jarred pestos and there are some really good brands and quality ones out there. This one however was new to me, this is Le Grand Pesto.

It’s a small family owned operation specializing in home made pestos, sauces and tapenades. It’s freshly made every week, raw, and with no added sugars or preservatives. The Garden Pesto and the Lemon Confit & Pumpkin Seed were my favourites and they honestly taste like they were made upon serving that day. The flavour was just really fresh and the basil, herbs and lemon tasted like they just picked them. They’re not oily and really vibrant in colour and I thought there was an orchard growing behind the booth.

4. Gluten Free

This “trend” I feel like was already “last year”, so I didn’t even list it in my 2012 Vancouver Food Trends (Sh*t Foodies Say). The words almost make me cringe. People treat it like the new peanut allergy. Yes, I get it. There are people who actually suffer from gluten allergies and I have friends who are celiac and I do feel bad for them, yes I GET IT. BUT, not EVERYONE is allergic to gluten that says they are, and that I find bothersome. Someone on Twitter explained it nicely: There are people who are allergic to gluten, but it’s the majority who are using it as an excuse (for dietary reasons, or “cool” reasons, or whatever the reasons may be), that are making it that much harder for the people who are actually allergic to it.

Moving on now. The creator of Rocket Roods, the line of all natural cereals and granola pictured above, is celiac and allergic to everything. He said “you name it, I’m allergic”. I said “carrot”. He said “oh no, not that”… anyway he created Rocket Foods which is peanut free, tree nut free, dairy free, egg free, wheat, barely, rye free, sulphite free, preservative free, artificial flavour and colour free, trans fat free and GMO free. It’s also flavour free… just kidding! It’s actually flavourful, although a bit on the sweet side for me, and made with whole grains, pure oats and dried fruits. It’s healthy breakfast eating on-the-go and they use quality ingredients and no refined sugars. The start up company is really focused on sustainability too which is always a great philosophy to begin any company with.

Photo from ****YeahDeliciousFood

5. Cake in a Mug

Cake in a mug or cake in a cup. Cute right? Kudos for presentation, but it’s basically what you’ve always known but wrapped up in a new package. Point and case: the cupcake. It’s just a smaller version of a cake. This is somewhat of a soufflé, but in a mug instead of a ramekin. Okay, I don’t want to take the novelty out of this because it is a fun way to serve cake and it deserves some credit. It is cake batter poured into a cup and them microwaved or baked in the oven if the mug is oven safe. It’s nothing too new, but it’s highly marketable and a very cute concept like pie-in-a-jar!

And this is not a trend, but just something I would dream to eventually have in my house one day. It’s a self cleaning rotisserie oven. I am grunting like Tim Allen from Home Improvement. I asked for a sample, but they didn’t have one.

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