I’ve gone to a number of food events this year but was feeling a little underwhelmed after attending some of the consumer shows so I decided to check out a food event that was for industry only. The Restaurants Canada Show took place over three days from March 1 to 3 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
I have a friend who owns a frozen kefir store (deKefir) in downtown Toronto so she asked me to see if there was anything kefir, frozen yogurt or probiotic related. But I also went to check out food trends and to see if there were any new and interesting food products for my own personal research. I figure if it’s trending in the restaurant industry, chances are it’ll make its way down the food chain eventually (no pun intended).
I spent most of my time in the Ontario Fresh Pavillion section at the exhibition (which was conveniently located across from the alcohol and spirits section). Local food, sustainability and reducing your ‘food print’ are popular topics of discussion these days. I sampled grass fed milk, yogurt and butter (so creamy!) from Rolling Meadow Dairy and learned about the Feast Ontario program at the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance booth. I also went around the various booths trying food samples. I tried Kiki Maple Sweet Water – a refreshing drink that contains natural antioxidants, smoothies made with Veggie Pucks, Zpirit water and NuPasta. All great food products from a health and wellness standpoint.
The exhibition is geared towards providing you with everything you’d need to start a food business or restaurant. There were equipment suppliers, food distributers, business solutions agencies, food product reps as well as the various food and health associations: Canadian Celiac Association, Ontario Pork, Turkey Farmers of Ontario and Health Canada.
I personally loved seeing all the various aspects that tie into food production at the show. From RATIONAL combi ovens, to Squirrel point of sale systems, marketing companies, food wrapping solutions and take out containers, food products and distributors, it made me appreciate all the different facets involved with food and the restaurant industry. It was a great compliment to my studies at George Brown College plus I got to try free samples.
Although I had a great time, I wouldn’t recommend the Restaurants Canada Show to the general public because the exhibits are geared towards the food industry and rely on restaurants and retail stores for their distribution (some products are available at the consumer/retail level but most booths are targeted toward industry professionals or are looking for distribution.
However, there were definitely some new and interesting items that wellness and health professionals would benefit knowing about.
Top things I saw at show:
- Naturally infused water (fruit or maple sap)
- Veggie pucks – frozen blended vegetables that you can add to smoothies
- Nupasta – low calorie, gluten free noodles made from konjac; similar to shiratake noodles
- Restaurants Canada’s Top 10 Hot Trends and Top 10 Up-and-comers List