A review of some great Quebec innovations in organic food and cooking. Let's focus not on trends, but on the research and development results that can now be found on grocery store shelves.
Globalization is forcing companies to innovate and outperform themselves to take their rightful place on grocery store shelves. Grocery store shelves are not expanding and competition is fierce, with thousands of new food products appearing every year.
That's why innovation is necessary to thrive.
New products are important to the consumer as well as to the retailer and manufacturer.
A new product can drive loyal customers, generate traffic in the store, improve the visual design of the store with new colors, new shapes and promote brands at the head of the line.
For the food manufacturer, innovation is a broad and open opportunity.
They range from new, more recyclable or reusable packaging to changing the formulation of a flagship product, not to mention creating an entirely new product.
There are many benefits for the manufacturer: updating their offering, opening up new markets and access to new customers, and above all, being able to position their brand in more niche markets.
For customers, innovation means discoveries, new ingredients, new recipes, experimentation with new cooking or freezing methods, all because food is synonymous with pleasure and sharing.
Innovation comes in many forms
When it comes to food innovation, most often what comes to mind is what people eat and what they drink. But very often innovation remains invisible to the consumer.
For example, innovations in the food industry include new production methods.
Here are a few examples.
Strawberries in winter? There's a saying in Quebec, "You can't eat strawberries year-round." After growing tomatoes year-round, it's the turn of the local strawberries, which can be enjoyed as early as mid-January!
The Quebec government, seeking food self-sufficiency, has put forward programs that allow greenhouse growers to take advantage of special electricity rates, giving them the opportunity to grow food produced here year-round.
Highlighting key ingredients that were thought to be simple, unchangeable and almost unsurprising has radically changed the food experience.
For example, vanilla is a complex spice with more than 500 flavor molecules, all of which can be enhanced in concentrates. The seeds of the camelina plant, which grows in this country, when roasted and cold-pressed produce a vegetable oil with extraordinary nutritional properties. Olive oil has competition!
What about bubble tea, which has survived a meteoric rise since its inception?
But you could only enjoy it in restaurants or specialty stores. And now a Quebec company has entered the world of bubble tea, using the finest ingredients, such as pure fruit juices and premium natural tea infusions in ready-to-drink versions.
Recently, there are brand new products: chickpea-based pie that can be made in a pan or in the oven, and vegetable ice cream that you can buy at the dairy bar!
Of course, sustainability is a theme animated by current events, and the food industry is supporting innovation in the circular economy.
Several companies have developed methods for reusing spent grains, i.e., leftovers from beer production.
What used to be thrown away is used to make energy bars, healthy whole-food drinks, and flour that can be added to recipes for cakes, pastries, etc.
Innovation = Economics
What is admirable about the food industry is its endless creativity in satisfying a basic necessity of life. Innovation, characteristic of a healthy industry, provides access to foods that are sometimes cheaper and more nutritious.
The echoes of the past few years have shown the great vulnerability of certain segments of the population who must have access to nutritious, quality food.
Innovation is also about thinking in terms of current and future needs.
Try to learn about innovation the next time you shop for groceries!
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