July 24, 2017

SIAL Canada 2014 – Innovation Awards

SIALINNOV 2014More than 80 products were entered in the SIAL CANADA INNOVATION contest this year. Fifty (50) products were pre-selected and presented to the Grand Jury, ten (10) made the final cut and one (1) was acclaimed the grand winner.

Below, you will find our take on the winners.

Not all product innovations enter the competition. Some of them are still worth mentioning. They are listed below.



GÜ Desserts, by GÜ Desserts, UKGu-Desserts-1-600
If, like me, you enjoy indulging in a voluptuous dessert once in a while, you may very well enjoy this deliciously decadent British dessert offered in single portion ramekins weighing in at 85-90 grams and sold in 2-serving packages. GÜ desserts come in a variety of flavours including several chocolate versions, lemon, mango or lime and are found in the “chilled section” of grocery stores. This newcomer to North America offers outstanding ready-to-eat gourmet quality desserts that blend a crunchy biscuit base topped to a savoury and creamy top filling.

If you are weight/calorie conscious you may wish to know that GÜ desserts provide calories in similar amounts to other desserts with similar portion weights. That’s about 300 Calories.  We tried these desserts at the show. They are absolutely irresistible! The calories are worth it. But if you are planning to indulge more frequently in GÜ desserts, you will have to find a way to balance out your energy intake and energy expenditure by either trading in other indulgences for this one or being more active.

Innovative Features: recipe/ingredients, packaging and design—gourmet desserts in single serving glass ramekins.


pureblueberrie_gdPURE Blueberries Fruit Purée –by PEI Berries Ltd, PEI Canada
This purée made of 100% whole wild ripe blueberries uses a new production process that is capable of better preserving the nutritional value of the fruit. The new technology called HydroThermoDynamics, (HTD) allows the berries to be processed at lower temperatures in a closed system that protects nutrients from oxidation. The result–50% more anthocyanin concentration than the best wild blueberry juice.

Each bottle of Pure blueberries fruit puree contains five servings of pure P.E.I. blueberries. Nothing is added— no water, sugar, flavours, colours, or preservatives. The puree can be added to any of your favourite foods such as yogurt, smoothies, salad dressings, desserts and as flavour to water.

Innovative Features: Production process that safeguards the nutritional value of the berries

Maple Sugar and Flower of Salt, by Y Olive Inc, Canada
As Canadians, we thoroughly appreciate the delectable taste of maple syrup and maple sugar. We also like salt and it’s ability to enhance flavours. Now imagine taking our beloved sweet and salt flavours to new heights.  That’s what Y Olive did!

By adding a soupçon of flavourful ingredients to refined maple sugar, this company has just created maple products that are absolutely divine. Imagine, if you can, maple sugar with a touch of finely ground wild rose petals and cranberries!  But it doesn’t stop here. How about adding yuzu, sake, serviceberry, cinnamon or vanilla–just enough to enhance the total experience and not too much to overpower the richness of the maple flavour. Honestly, I never thought if could be done. I was wrong.

Innovative Features: Recipe/ingredients

Flower of Salt
VALISEDE6VARITSDEFLEURDESELThis company also produces a variety of specialty salts made from Flower of salt. Flower of salt is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by scraping off only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans that are found along various coast lines around the world. It is considered an artisanal product. Flower of salt is slightly more complex than common table salt because it contains traces of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine and a higher level of moisture. Local impurities such as micro-algae and sand, can also be remain attached to this unrefined salt. Due to its relative scarcity and its labor-intensive production, flower of salt (flor de sal /fleur de sel) is generally more expensive.

By adding saltwort, berries, wild plants such currants, celery root, berries, mushrooms and smoked maple wood to flower of salt new and interesting flavours are created.

Remember, from a purely nutritional stance, sugar is sugar…is sugar and salt is salt…is salt.

Sugar and salt have been often been presented to us as the plague of the century—mostly because they are being added indiscriminately to foods. Our intake is at an all time high. But remember, sugars and salts in and of themselves are not “poisons”. Although they may not contribute significant amounts of nutrients to the diet, they do play other roles. In olden days they served as valuable preservatives. They still have functional and structural roles in baking. And they can enhance our enjoyment of the food. When used in combination with nutritious foods, both sugar and salt can add pleasure to the eating experience and can increase our acceptance of nutritious foods.

The new specialty sugars and salts introduced by Y Olive have the potential of further enhancing our appreciation of foods. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

Here’s the “ick”! When abused both sugar and salt can play a role in contributing to ill effects. For example, salt has been linked to high blood pressure in some individuals, regardless of its origin. If you are salt sensitive, you may need to curb your appetite for salt and seek new ways to enhance the flavour of your food.

If you do not suffer adverse health effects to salt or sugar, you may not have to worry so much about salt or sugar when your nutrient requirements are met. However, you may want to treat salt and sugar like any other ingredient in your diet by respecting the old adage “All things in moderation!” That’s our recommendation!

Innovative Features: Recipe/ingredients – natural original flavours

Four O’Clock Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea, by Trans-Herbe Inc, Canada
Basilur Blood Orange Infusions, Basilur Tea, Canada

The non-alcoholic beverage category has seen unprecedented growth over the past years. And tea is definitely becoming a hot beverage of choice around the globe. Teas are becoming increasingly sophisticated. More and more we are see a variety of teas with added flowers, fruit and herbs. The following teas subscribe to the latter statement. They were both recognized for similar innovative features.IMG_2632

IMG_2638Four O’Clock Pink Lemonade Herbal Tea is a bit different. It made to be enjoyed hot or cold…yes, cold!

Innovative Features: Recipe/ingredients, packaging and design

Basilur Blood Orange Infusions combine fruit, flowers and herbs for that ultimate calming experience often attributed to tea drinking.

Innovation: Recipe/ingredients, packaging and design

Haiku Green Tea Asian Style Noodles, by I-D Foods Corp, Canada  

IMG_2669These green tea Asian style noodles are made from wheat flour and green tea powder which gives them a lightly flavoured green tea taste. They come in a package of six bird nests suggesting 6 servings and are ready to eat in just 3 minutes. These noodles produced in China do contain more salt than regular pasta 290 mg vs 4 mg.  If you are a sodium watcher, you will need to balance out the sodium content of the noodles by choosing lower salt accompaniments at that meal or at the next one.
Innovative Features: Recipe\ingredients


Oh! Canard Half Duck, by Canard du Lac Brome Ltée, CanadaIMG_2631

If the thought of cooking duck at home scares you, there is a new frozen gourmet product line that will make duck an easier choice on your weekly menu. Oh!Canard features three new artisanal butchery cuts along with the classics: duck chops and tournedos made from breast meat, and a half duck for those nights when a full bird is too much. The new T-bone style cut is sure to ease cooking and offers a different culinary presentation for the bird.


You may wonder where duck sits on the nutrition scale because of the amount of visible fat. When compared on a “lean to lean” basis, duck is very similar in nutrient composition to other meats. The fat composition differs somewhat from beef and breaks down into the following: 33% of the fat is saturated, 50% is monounsaturated and 13% polyunsaturated. Duck fat also provides 4.8 µg of Vitamin D. Compare this to beef tallow: 49% saturated, 42% monounsaturated, 4% polyunsaturated and 0.7 µg of Vitamin D.

Duck meat does provide a bit more fat than beef tenderloin meat, 11 g vs 9 g for each 100 g. Proportionately duck offers more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Should you care? Well, we should all aim to keep our fat intake at 30% of total calories and limit saturated fats to 10%. At least these are the generally recommended intakes.

If fat is of  concern to you, consider following the same principles for all meats, that is—limit the addition of fat in the preparation of food and cut out the visible fat before serving.

And remember whatever food is chosen as part of the diet some adjustments have to be made in the amount of other items on the menu to meet our nutrient requirements. It’s always a question of balance.

Innovative Features: Recipe/ingredients

Southern Art Hot Sauce, by Southern Art, USAIMG_2665
This artisanal sauce with cayenne pepper, spices and fresh herbs is quite powerful. But if you like really hot stuff, in other words “spicy hot” you may find this one to be on the milder side of hot. There were other flavours offered to us and we also found them to be high quality sauces that delivered on taste.

Innovation: Recipe/ingredients


189 Harwood by Première Moisson Mini-croissants, Boulangerie Première Moisson Inc Canada

PREMIERE MOISSON - '189 Harwood by Première Moisson'  - Version 2How about whipping up fresh mini-croissants in 30 minutes. That’s what Première Moisson is offering consumers this year. The company launched it’s 189 Harwood line, a new gourmet label developed especially for grocery and super store in response to consumer in search of treating themselves to easy to prepare specialty products. These frozen pastries made from select ingredients are oven ready and will fill the house with the aroma of fresh baked goods. Wheat flours used by Première Moisson are unbleached, free of chemical pesticides and developed from an exceptional mix of proprietary wheat strains grown by Québec farmers, and based on input and expertise from Les Moulins de Soulanges.

Innovative Feature: Recipe/ingredients

IMG_2636Home Style Sweet Pickled Beets, Safie Specialty Foods Co, USA What’s so special about pickled beets,  you may ask? Well nothing really except these ones, really tasted like the pickled beets mom used to make. Simply flavourful!

Innovative Feature: Recipe/ingredients, production process



Logo_Olive_d_Or_2013 AWARD WINNERS 2014 – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This year, more than 110 olive oils from 14 countries participated in the contest. A jury of international experts judges each oil according to its category of entry as follows, in compliance with the standards of the International Olive Oil Council. Three prizes are Warded – GOLD, SILVER & BRONZE. This year, 4 honourable mentions were are granted.

Ripe fruitiness: a set of olfactory sensations characteristic of the oil produced from healthy, fresh fruit that’s
harvested later in the season. The oil is sweet, with little or no bitterness or pungency and with an aroma of ripe fruit, dried fruit, yellow or red fruit, as well as floral notes.
Light Fruit Flavour: little or no sharpness or bitterness, mild taste, subtle and sweet flavor.
Medium Fruit Flavour: sharp, with moderate bitterness, strong vegetable notes, with a long finish.
Strong Fruit Flavour: strong, sharp and bitter (peppery), intense vegetable notes (artichoke, tomato, tomato plant, green banana, etc.), long and refined finish, a smooth, oily feeling on the palate, with a long aftertaste.

The 12 award winning oils were showcased at SIAL CANADA. We welcomed the opportunity to test all of them. And honestly, our taste experience of  these full-flavoured oils will make it quasi-impossible to go back to plain oils from now on.


  • Ripe Fruit – Los Alamos, Agroindustrial Siracusa S.A., Chili
  • Light Fruit – L’Ottobratico, Olearia San Giorgio, Italy
  • Medium Fruit – Morellana, Sucesores de Hermanos Lopez S.A. Spain
  • Strong Fruit – Villa Magra, Frantoio Franci, Italie


  • Ripe Fruit – Oleiva Traditional, Slama Huiles, Tunisia
  • Light Fruit – Oro Bailen Reserva Familiar Arbequina, Galgon 99 SL, SpainIMG_0616
  • Medium Fruit – OL Istria Selection, Agrolaguna D.D., Croatia
  • Strong Fruit – Cladivm, Aroden, S.A.T. Espagne


  • Ripe Fruit – Jordan Olivenoel – nativ extra, Jordan Olivenoel, Greece
  • Light Fruit – L’Aspromontano, Olearia San Giorgio, Italy
  • Medium Fruit – Bravoleum”, Explotaciones Jame, S.L. Spain
  • Strong Fruit – Reserva de Familia by Casas de Hualdo, Casas de Hualdo, Espagne

Honourable Mentions were given to:

  • Olealys, L’Oleastre, Morroco
  • Oliveira da Serra, Sovena Portugal Consumer Goods S.A., Portugal
  • Finca La torre Selection, Finca La Reja, S.L., Spain
  • Monocultivar Picholine, Intini, Iatly



Going through the isles at SIAL reminds me of going through my grandmother’s purse in search of new things to explore and discover. I still remember uncovering one of those hair/hat protectors folded up like a hand-held fan in a very small plastic pouch. This clear plastic wrap with 2 draw strings unfolded to fit over the head and was tied under the chin.

We uncovered the following at SIAL and feel they are worth a special mention

Ultimate Kale Chips, by Solar Raw, Ontario Canada

IMG_2663As much as I like steamed kale, or kale added to soups and stews, I was very excited to discover Kale chips at SIAL. I am always looking for something to snack on that won’t tip the calorie scale. I found one! These kale chips are definitely making it onto my snack option list. What a great way to enjoy greens from the garden. And tasty!

Made with fresh organic kale grown in Canada and gently air dried using solar energy, these kale chips are made with fresh ingredients, are lightly salted…and are to die for!  Four flavour options were offered to me. I liked them all — but especially liked ” Better than cheddar” made with real cheese and “Hemp cream & chives” made with garden fresh kale smothered in creamy hemp hearts and chives. Other flavours included Red Peppercorn Ranch and Spicy Curry Lime.

Kale like many other green leafy vegetables is gaining in popularity and consumers are looking for ways to incorporate it in their daily diet.

Kale, also known as borecole is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family and includes the cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli and brussels sprouts. One cup of chopped kale contains only 33 Calories and more than the daily recommended allowance for vitamins A, C, and K.  It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sulphur-containing phytonutrients and fibre.
Cococo Rosemary Fusion, by Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, Calgary, Canada

I’m not generally a chocolate person–more of a “caramel” lover. But this milk chocolate bar infused with rosemary and thyme, hand-finished with habanero sea salt through me for a loop.

The bar tantalizes all the taste buds in the mouth and creates total havoc—sometimes prickly, sometimes salty, sometimes sweet and always smooth! WOW what a blend!

If you are looking for a bold new way to experience chocolate this bar is definitely worth a try. It’s no wonder it was a Silver Award recipient at the International Chocolate Awards in 2012.

Balsamic Vinegar di Modena by Dodi, Agrodolce Importers LTD

WhilIMG_2649e vinegar has traditionally been used for food preservation or as a seasoning, more recently, new fruit  and herb vinegars—with a wide range of sensory characteristics, are now entering the marketplace. We tend to think of vinegar as acetic acid. Fruit and herb vinegars however, often contain citric, malic, lactic, and tartaric acids and may also include phenols, some of which are produced as a result of fermentation process.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena must be produced within the town of Modena found in the more northern central part of Italy.  The grapes are harvested as late as possible in the season. Traditional vinegar is made from cooked grape “must” and is aged for a minimum of 12 years or more. “Extra aged” is indicated on the label when the vinegar has reached 25 years.  Different kinds of successively smaller barrels of different woods are used for the aging process. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and offers flavours that balance the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the barrels.

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (PGI)-protected geographical indication must be produced within the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The vinegar is made from grape “must” that is partially fermented and/or boiled/ and/or concentrated.

This year, we experimented with three (3) Balsamic Vinegars de Modena by Dodi at SIAL Canada. The first one “Il Buon Condimento” was the youngest of three vinegars. Obtained from the careful blending of cooked must and wine vinegar—left to age 5 years in barrels made of precious wood, this vinegar has a relatively high degree of acidity. Its distinct flavour, which is light and discreet, lends itself well in a variety of cooked or uncooked food applications.

“Il Capriccio de Valeria” was born a few years ago after a mild disagreement within the Dodi family about one slightly unusual barrel. After a test during a dinner that little barrel became the first of a great product. Not as acidic and more refined, this 7 year old vinegar is slightly more consistent and would be ideal for flavouring raw appetizers, first courses, meat salads and crudites.

Produced in Reggio Emilia, “Famiglia Dodi “ is the third vinegar I tried. Aged for 10 years in fine wooden casks,  this one was definitely my favourite. Sweeter and more consistent, its unique flavour is ideal for salads, as a dip for raw vegetables, with boiled meats, fish and sauces or even on fruit salads, ice cream, custards and zabaioni.


Interest in the beneficial health effects of fruit and herb based vinegars has increased over the years.

more to come…

Liquid Salt by CORBIÈRES, France

IMG_2645Salt is the most renown nutrition villain of the last three (3) decades. With the increased presence of processed foods in our diet, it’s not surprising that salt has also increased. It’s an affordable taste enhancer and effective preservative that can be easily sprinkled just about anywhere. Canadians eat about 3400 mg of sodium each day. This is more than double the amount we need.

Concerns about its over-consumption however, have lead health authorities to put on cap on our daily intake—somewhere around 2,300 mg— although it is strongly recommended that we stay closer to 1,500 mg per day.

The food industry is responding to public health concerns associated with salt intake. Some companies are just lowering the amount of salt in their food formulation. Others are turning to herbs and spices as flavour enhancers. Corbières has decided to offer liquid salt, flavoured with “red or white wine” and spices. This “lower sodium” salt is packaged in 100 mL spray bottles. I can just see myself sprinkling this innovation on salads, fresh vegetables or meat just before serving.