Coming soon to a grocery store near you

Guest post by Cara Rosenbloom, RD

October is my favourite month – pumpkins, autumn leaves…and trade show season. My trick-or-treating came early today as I opened my bag to trial-sized samples of everything from cereal to soup at the Grocery Innovations Canada trade show. It’s Halloween for dietitians!


I walked the aisles at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and looked for the best new products that will hit store shelves this year. Here’s what I found.

Most unique product:

Meatless Select Fishless Tuna

Imagine you are a vegetarian craving a tuna sandwich. Canned fishless tuna is a soy-based imitation of tuna – just add mayo and celery for a pretty good facsimile. It doesn’t boast the healthy omega-3 fat content of real tuna but it doesn’t have any harmful mercury either. Neat idea.


The “I’ve been waiting for these!” products:

Just Chillin’ Easy Going Edamame.

Frozen edamame (green soybeans) have long been available in the grocer’s freezer, but they are all imported from China. After scandalous melamine-in-milk and cadmium-tainted rice incidents in China, it’s nice to have edamame that’s grown right here in Ontario. Finally!

Kikkoman 100% Whole Wheat Panko.

I love cooking with large, crispy Panko bread crumbs, and this whole wheat version will add a new dimension to my son’s favourite crunchy haddock recipe.


Best new beverage:

Blu-Dot Protein Tea.

This line of bottled iced tea has no artificial colours or flavours and is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. As a unique twist, each bottle contains 12 grams of protein from whey. I tasted the Blueberry Acai Green Tea – it was mild and refreshing, and has just 60 calories (mostly from protein) and 1 gram of sugar per 473 mL bottle.

Most predictable trends:

Gluten-free. From Weston Bakeries All But Gluten line of cakes and breads to Catelli’s gluten-free pasta, large food manufacturers have noticed the wheat-free trend and have climbed on board. It’s no surprise, really. Gluten-free products have become a $90 million dollar business in Canada, and are predicted to grow at least 10 percent a year for the next five years. That’s good news for people with Celiac disease, who used to struggle to find products to replace gluten-containing bread, pasta and cookies.

Greek yogurt. I counted no less than eight different companies offering Greek yogurt – the protein-rich dairy product that has taken over the grocery aisle for good reason. It’s creamy, rich and indulgently satisfying, and has double the protein content of regular yogurt. I prefer plain Greek yogurt and add a hint of maple syrup to avoid too much added sugar, but if you like more flavour, look for fun new options such as pumpkin spice, strawberry cheesecake and pina colada.

The most fun item:

Olivia’s Cake Pops.

Not necessarily healthy, I know. But these pre-packaged 115 calorie nut-free cake pops (cake and icing balls on lollipop sticks) are better than the standard 250-calorie cupcakes for birthday parties, classroom events and bake sales. Plus – chocolate and vanilla are combined in each package and they are just so damn cute!



The most ridiculous marketing claims:

Veggie breads. Many claim to have a serving of vegetables per slice but one serving of vegetables is ½ cup (125 mL), according to Canada’s Food Guide. I sat and picked the rehydrated piece of vegetables out of a slice of bread and it barely yielded a teaspoonful (5 mL). Hmmm….Something doesn’t add up. If you want to get more vegetables in your diet, have some salad, not a slice of bread.

What would you most like to see on the grocery shelves? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!