An increasing number of food companies are seeking inspections from organizations that certify kosher food as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reduces its number of inspectors.
That was one of the revelations from Rabbi Saul Emanuel, of the Jewish Community Council of Montreal, who spoke during the second day of SIAL Canada.
The show, organized by EXPO Canada France, in partnership with SET Canada, takes place this year May 9-11 at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal.
It featured 676 exhibitors from 45 countries and an expected 13,000 visitors.
In the face of a reduction in government food inspection, “companies are turning to us saying ‘you are doing the controls.’ ”
Emanuel, whose organization operates the MK kosher label, was one of several speakers on Thursday.
“People want to ensure companies are being visited and every product is certified. Those are the people who are buying kosher food.” He said.
The North American kosher food market is expected to tap US $14 billion this year, compared with US $12.5 billion in 2008, and much of the growth is coming from outside the Jewish community, including Muslims and consumers who like the feeling that the food they’re eating is being examined closely.
Another speaker on Thursday was Stewart Samuel, senior analyst at IGD, a British consultant on packaging who discussed the drivers for retail-ready packaging (RRP).
RRP is easy to identify, open, replenish, shop and to dispose of, he said.
It’s growing in popularity because retailers are trying to automate the last 50 metres in stores, in an industry that has already been automated everywhere else, he said.
UK-based Tesco is a leader in best practice. In North America, Wal-Mart and Loblaw, which have high contingents of British executives, have also adopted the practice, Samuel said.
RRP enhances category presentation and has allowed Wal-Mart to eliminate hanging products. “It helps shoppers find products and enhances category presentation,” he said.
Another speaker, Yves Forget, vice-president of integrated management solution firm Forgestik, discussed the optimization of integrated solutions. Information systems in the food industry are frequently sub-standard, he said.
They don’t follow business models and are isolated from customer service. “There is too much usage of Excel,” which, Neron said, “should just be used for making reports.”
He urged the industry to adopt integrated Enterprise Resource Planning–an easy-to-use system that provides real-time and instant data and analysis.
SIAL Canada also featured a plethora of new product innovations on the trade floor.
Unitop Optima, distributor of crunchy old standby Sesame Snaps from Poland, is launching new flavours of Sesame Snaps in Canada: orange, chocolate, yogurt and coconut.
Aliments Fontaine Santé presented its Hummus Cocktail. Topped with olive oil, the 227 g product comes in six flavours: chipotle, roasted pine nuts, caramelized onions, Greek olives, roasted red peppers and roasted artichoke and spinach.
Krinos unveiled Fillo Twisters, which are wrapped in fillo dough and go from the freezer to the oven. They’re available in apple, spinach and feta and feta and ricotta.
La Maison du Gibier showcased a new line of semi-preserved big game products. They come in 700 ml glass jars and are available in bison bourguignon, red deer civet (stew and brown stock from big game flavours). The refrigerated product has an eight-month shelf life.
The Citadelle maple producers’ cooperative offered Maple Pearls, maple jelly pearls that look somewhat like caviar, but contain maple syrup. The product won the grand prize in the Trends & Innovations competition.
La Danoiserie has added to its stable of bakery products for time-pressed consumers, with such offerings as freezer to oven cherry-almond crunch croissants and thaw and serve sandwich buns.
Micro-brewery Boris Beer has unveiled peach and lemon iced tea flavours with a punch–an alcohol content of 5.6 per cent.