Being wowed at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association conference

Do you know what a fundamental difference between the food and produce industries is? For the most part, it seems that many in the food industry  want to maintain the status quo in offering consumers all kinds of products with not much in the way of real nutrition. True there is a segment trying to bring healthier convenience food to the market but on the whole,  it’s somewhat of a nutritional quagmire.

ee-CPMAShowThe produce industry, on the other hand, is very responsive to consumer demand and they’re trying to make it easier to include these nutritious eats more often. The difference was incredibly evident to me as I walked through the rows of exhibitors booths at the recent annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) conference held in Toronto.

Firstly I have to say that when I walked into the exhibitors’ hall at the conference, I was stunned. I have been to dozens and dozens of food shows and never felt as I did at the CPMA show. I didn’t see both after booth of salt and fat-laden snack foods as I have come across at many grocery shows.  Nor did I see exhibitors peddling an assortment of protein powders or supplements, the first thing I came across at a recent health food show.

Just one beautiful produce exhibit after another – a whole huge ballroom filled with gorgeous fruits and vegetables. Assorted products that boost both the appeal and nutrition quotient were also featured. Instead of sodium and fat-filled croutons, there were toppings like nut mixes.


Now when I say that the produce industry is interested in bringing what consumers want to the marketplace, I do so because that’s what I was told by exhibitor after exhibitor.

Here is some of you should be seeing soon at your local store:

Convenience products were front and centre including ones like these microwaveable artichoke packages – two or four artichokes ready to cook in a  microwaveable bag. Containers of pre-washed baby kale salad, kale blends such as a combo of baby black kale, baby scarlet kale, and wild arugula, heirloom spinach along with  other new blends of baby greens are just a few of the new salad offerings.




Little carrying containers for the increasingly popular grape tomatoes

ee-CPMA-mushroomsMushrooms galore

Coming soon: mushrooms with plenty of vitamin D – but not at a Canadian store near you.

Do you have any vegetable or fruit items that are on your wish list? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Food Trends, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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One Comment on “Being wowed at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association conference”

  1. Donna Gillingham
    April 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Wow,Could the message be getting through,the displays look fabulous!

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