Thousands of retail buyers descended upon Toronto’s Enercare Centre in early May for the
annual SIAL Canada convention
where they experienced a cornucopia of traditional, ethnic, gourmet and new and noteworthy foods
from throughout Canada, the U.S, Europe and
other parts of the world.
At the very center of the show’s front aisle,
Abigail Abjetey was telling showgoers to “Have
a peachy day,” while carefully plating slices of
canned peaches imported from Greece to sample.
“These peaches are a joint project sponsored by
Greece and the European Union, and they come
available in halves, wholes and slices,” she said.
By talking with Michalis Lichounas, export
commercial director at Kronos S.A., a canner
based in Skydra, Greece, they would learn that
peaches have been grown in Greece since the time
of Alexander the Great, and that the country best
known for olives is actually the third-largest peach
producer in the E.U. and fifth largest worldwide.
“We are here to assist our agents and find some
new clients,” he said. “The vast majority of our
business here and in the U.S. is in private label.
Depending on the weather, we are a good source
for when U.S. growers have a weak crop.”
Wajdi Ben Frej, president of Montreal-
based Agromed, was showcasing his company’s
Oriviera Organic line of olive oils imported from
Tunisia. “We are a family group that controls the
entire process, so the retailer and consumer can
be assured that they are getting a pure, high qual-
ity olive oil,” he said. “We guarantee the origin is
from Tunisia and it is top-quality. We are intro-
ducing an organic version, and it is available in a
3-liter tin for foodservice.”
Officials from Jan. K. Overweel Limited, based
in Woodbridge, Ont., Canada, were display-
ing a wide variety of cheeses, cured meats, cook-
ies and coffee at their booth. “For export to the
U.S. we have Oak Manor Stilton
from England; Gorgonzola from
Gorgonzola, Italy; Parmigiano-
Reggiano from Italy; Emmental
from Switzerland; and Pecorino
from Tuscany, Italy. They are all
‘product of’ that country, so they
are all 100-percent ingredients
from that country,” said Giovanna
Varricchione, marketing director.
Unfortunately for Americans, the light-as-air,
melt-in-your-mouth delectable imported Italian
pastry puffs that Jan K. Overweel also imports
cannot be sold in the U.S. because they are mar-
keted under the name Milano. “The Milano brand
is a Canadian patent, and Pepperidge Farm owns
the Milano brand in the U.S.,” she explained.
Luckily, the Expresco ProSticks Grilled
Chicken Skewers snacks manufactured by
Montreal-based Expresco Foods are being sold
stateside. “We introduced them in October to
several markets, including Safeway, Jewel and
Food Lion,” said Jaime Galaviz, director of sales.
Packaged two to a container and available in three
varieties (Mediterranean-Style, Chipotle-Style
and Sweet Siracha-Style), the refrigerated snacks
pack 23 grams of protein per serving, are made
with chicken breast and contain no preservatives.
“They are microwavable and ready in just 30 sec-
onds, but can be eaten cold too. We are really a
healthier version than a beef jerky, very low in
sodium with a very clean deck,” said Galaviz.
People were lining up to sample the melt-in-
your-mouth duck foie gras being sautéed at the
Canards Du Lac Brome Ltée booth, a Knowlton,
Que.-based manufacturer of duck products,
including frozen duck pot pies, hors d’ouevres
and entrées, as well as fresh duck. “The fresh legs,
breast and whole duck are sold at Stop & Shop
in the New England and New York areas, as well
as Giant. We ship down every week,” said Bruno
Giuliani, vice president, sales and marketing.
Retailers may wish to cross-merchandise those
duck breasts across from a few tubs of margarine
An exciting assortment of new foods were on display at SIAL in Toronto.
BY RICHARD TURCSIK