March 19, 2010
With the trade show season underway, the 2010 Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) show wrapped up on March 9th. The ATS Team attended the show, which took place from March 7-9 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. We had the opportunity to interact more closely with industry, and get a feeling for the changes that are taking place due to new trends and innovative products in the marketplace. While the lasting effects of the economic slowdown were still evident at this year's show, there was a noticeable increase in activity from last year.
The CRFA show provided us with the chance to speak with industry professionals about their market information needs, current market presence, and future plans for expansion. One client in particular expressed a real interest in the Latin American market and we were able to make very quick introductions with Trade Commissioners from the region who were coincidentally attending the show, and we were also able to provide some tailor made market intelligence that will hopefully bring that company some success. The Trade Commissioners we spoke with after the event were very impressed with this company and had high hopes for immediate success. That is the real benefit of these types of events. Our meeting was essentially accidental, but we were both (government staff and client) excited about the prospects of working together to get some new Canadian products into foreign markets.
Another request from an industry client will lead us to do some in depth work on the consumer market in the Caribbean. Again, we had Trade Commissioners available to speak to the client and our mutual interest in expanding the presence of Canadian food in the Caribbean should pay dividends to all Canadians looking south. Our attendance at shows is a fantastic way for us to meet with industry, see some trends and most importantly feel genuinely involved in the development of the sector.
Through our attendance, we will be creating a report from the CRFA show, featuring new and innovative Canadian products from this years show. Keep an eye out for this report set to appear on the ATS website in the near future. In the meantime, if interested in the work we do at these events or in having a look at some new Canadian products, you can always have a look at our Competitive Insights Report from last year's show.
As mentioned, one of our primary purposes for attending these shows is to gather key market intelligence to help us to identify emerging trends. This year we saw the locally grown trend expand to include locally sourced convenience foods, as well as the expansion of bite-sized, pre-portioned foods. This trend was very desert focused in past years, but is now moving to include appetizer style foods. These aren't your run of the mill appetizers; they were high art and tasted fantastic!
This year's show also highlighted new almond-based products, from almond grain burger patties to almond flavoured soups and milk. Our attendance at the 2009 Grocery Innovations show gave us a head start on the emerging almond product trend and the CRFA show helped us expand our research. Gourmet and specialty breads, in particular hamburger buns and loaves were highly visible, with many companies focusing on providing artisan and organic options. Overall, the trends at this show were not as “new” as years past, but instead demonstrated an expansion or evolution of trends in the current food market.
With such great client interaction and market information coming out of the 2010 CRFA show, we're planning on attending a number of other trade events this coming year, including SIAL 2010 in Montreal from April 21-23, and BC Foodservice Expo and Grocery Showcase West 2010, both occurring from April 25-26 in Vancouver. We're looking forward to getting in touch again with industry at these upcoming shows, and generating new report and project ideas that will better serve your market information needs and future business plans.
Until then, our upcoming projects will keep us busy as we try to continually bring you new material. We hope to cross paths with you at some of these upcoming events, and please continue to get in touch with us.
Until next month.
* Photograph by Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
Wimpy // 1-Jul-11
"In awe of that answer! Really cool!"
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