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Seven CPMA show-stoppers

cpma show stoppers

VANCOUVER, BC—Walking a show floor, much less a two-day show floor, less than two weeks after the the last one I attended didn’t give me high hopes I’d see a whole lot of new items.

Consider me wrong. I saw so many new things on the expo floor at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention & Trade Show in Vancouver that I hate to whittle this post down to just seven.

But these seven have qualifiers: 1 – they had to be Canadian companies; and 2 – they had to be items I hadn’t seen yet.

There were at least a dozen more products and packaging concepts that I could have highlighted, but I kept to my criteria this time around.

A word about the two-day show, while I have your attention. I surveyed exhibitors and attendees about the show’s hours, considering it was more of a marathon two days instead of the 4- to 5-hour sprint we’re seeing become so popular at regional trade shows in the U.S.

Most said they liked the opportunity to breathe without the crush of people you see at the 5-hour show, and the slower pace led to higher quality conversations. There’s also the fact that schlepping everything to the far reaches of the West Coast of Canada meant that many exhibitors wanted to feel like the juice was worth the squeeze on travel and logistics costs.

Without further ado, here are the seven new-to-me Canadian show-stoppers, in no particular order:

Nature Fresh Farms Sweet Snaps

Leamington, ON-based Nature Fresh Farms BB #:274537, has something interesting going with these new Sweet Snaps. My family has been snacking on bell peppers years. I recently switched back to full size peppers from the mini seedless because I felt like I was getting a better bang for my buck. These larger, yet incredibly crunchable, peppers might be the next great snacking option.

Star Produce Tater Toppers and Air Fryer kits

These options from Star Produce, Saskatoon, SK, BB #:134817 literally stopped me in my tracks. The flavor combos in the Air Fryer value-added kits are not something you see every day, and I think air fryers are a gadget with staying power in a lot of kitchens in the U.S. and Canada. The Tater Toppers could make a great solution for consumers, especially when you market them as a value-conscious option when you consider how cheap a baked potato is as a main dish.

Ponderosa Mushrooms Cauliflower Mushrooms

This one’s not actually cauliflower from Ponderosa Mushrooms & Specialty Foods BB #:154930, Maple Ridge, BC. It made me chuckle, though, because what HASN’T cauliflower masqueraded as in past six or seven years?

Gwillimdale Farms Gwilly’s 2nd Best

The new Gwilly’s 2nd Best grade 2 potatoes from Bradford, ON-based Gwillimdale Produce Ltd. BB #:396697 leans into the food inflation, food waste, and value conversation. I’ve seen seconds and so-called “imperfect” produce come and go, but this looks like a well-designed, yet value-conscious option.

EarthFresh Fast. Fresh. Gourmet.

We all know the fresh French fries and frosty cold beer lure you into the EarthFresh, Burlington, ON, BB #:115750 booth at trade shows, but this time the buzz and (intentional) pop from the microwaves kept me there to see what’s up with the Fast. Fresh. Gourmet. microwave kits. I’m a huge fan of cooked carrots, and the full size chunks were packed with flavor.

Westmoreland’s net bags

I’m not sure how new these are, but I haven’t seen bell peppers packaged like these at the Westmoreland Sales, Leamington, ON, BB #:162214. This packaging tells me value, and a lower-plastic option than some of the massive pouch bags for bell pepper value pack.

Little Potato Co.’s new microwave-ready potatoes

I know I’ve seen a product like this from Edmonton, AB-based Little Potato Co. BB #:165367 but this is definitely a cleaner new look. I think I even picked up a smaller option at the Walmart store around the corner from me not too long ago, but this pack size looks bigger than I’ve seen in-store.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.