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CPMA Convention & Trade Show 2020 looking to ‘push flavours’ 

CPMA Convention & Trade Show 2020 looking to ‘push flavours’ 

The largest fresh produce event in the Canadian industry, the CPMA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show, provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders to enhance existing relationships and develop new business opportunities in Canada. After the successful 2019 edition, with over 300 exhibiting companies and 3,400 visitors from 27 countries, the 95th CMPA Convention & Trade Show will take place in Toronto from May 12th to May 14th 2020. “We want to focus on what companies can do to push flavour further. We want to show what innovations are out there; we know that packaging is going to play a big role, with alternatives and new solutions to meet consumers’ expectations coming forward. The event is about the community. Individual companies can be very successful on their own, but competition is a positive thing. Bringing the global community together in Canada is fundamental to driving that competition and making everyone successful,” said Ron Lemaire, president of the CPMA. The Canadian market continues to expand, with growth in organics, convenience offerings, and changes in package sizes to address seniors and aging demographics, but what is more exciting, according to Lemaire, is the country’s cultural mosaic which is really driving demand for a wide range of global products. “That is truly driven by the Canadian consumers, who travel and bring back home what they love. They are global consumers looking for flavour. Thee three keys to appeal to the Canadian consumer are price, quality and freshness,” said Lemaire.

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Agricultural Valle Alto, looking to expand to Europe and Canada

Located in Petén, Guatemala, Agrícola Valle Alto is a producer, packer and marketer of the Tainung 1 papaya variety. “The weight of the fruit is 0.9 kilos to 2 kilos per unit, with a brix of 9 to 13, and its colour is orange,” said Alex Palma, commercial manager. With year-round production, the 312-hectare farm produces between 20,000 and 30,000 15kg boxes per week, which are exported mainly to the US (transit time by ship is 4-5 days) and to Central America. In addition to ripe papaya, the firm also exports green papaya, which is fruit that has not yet started its ripening process and is mainly destined for use in green salads or other Asian dishes. “Our goal is to grow, so that our papaya is known throughout the world. This year we hope to export to Canada and Europe, although they are more complicated markets because it requires air freight and is therefore more expensive. But we have received many proposals from logistics service companies that I think will allow us to arrive there,” said Palma. In order to expand, the company will have to increase its production area and volumes, since it is currently operating at 90% capacity already. Agrícola Valle Alto is working to reduce waste, and is using postharvest treatment products that are based on thyme and other plant extracts. In the field, it uses pheromones to ward off insects, as well as other types of environmentally friendly solutions.

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Cannabis-based products to become legal in Canada from October

Cannabis-based products to become legal in Canada from October

From October, Canadian companies will be able to market products based on cannabis. Indeed, companies are already well on their way to developing a range of new products that is likely to include edibles (like chocolates), as well as other kinds of drinks, snacks and oils.

Even cannabis beer is being trialled. This would be made from cannabis stalks, stems, and seeds. In recent times, medical research has indicated a range of benefits to be accrued to using CBD – a component of cannabis which can be used to treat symptoms ranging from epilepsy to anxiety.

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Mission Produce opens Ripe Center in Calgary

Distribution center is the company’s second in Canada, and 11th worldwide Oxnard-based Mission Produce today announced that it has completed construction on its latest Ripe Center.

The Ripe Center, based in Calgary, Canada, will service customers in Western Canada with ripe fruit throughout the year. Mission has operated a distribution center Toronto since 2010, and the addition of the new center in Calgary allows the company to service the Western half of the country from a center that is designed to deliver to customers from Winnipeg to Vancouver. According to Ben Barnard, Mission’s Senior Director of Operations, the Ripe Center implements new technology designed specifically for avocados. “It is a 40,000 square-foot, purpose-built facility that has 4 ripe rooms with a total capacity to ripen 96 pallets. We developed the Calgary Ripe Center with our internal engineering team. It uses the latest in avocado ripening technology that is unique to Mission Produce, including advance high-efficiency refrigeration, lighting and control systems to minimize our energy usage. It was designed and built to meet or exceed all food safety requirements.” According to Brent Scattini, Mission’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, opening the Calgary Ripe Center was a logical step in further serving the Canadian market. “The Calgary facility is a natural counterpart to our Toronto facility, and gives us the ability to service customers more rapidly. By having a depot in Calgary, we can relieve some of the burden on the Toronto Ripe Center. It also allows us more ripe capacity while developing faster deliveries of both hard and ripe fruit for customers in the West. It gives us another hub and further extends our coverage of North America.” Mission’s President & CEO, Steve Barnard, added: “Canada is a very important market for Mission, and adding the Calgary Ripe Center expands our capacity and our ability to distribute to our customer base in a timely manner. This is the third Ripe Center we’ve opened this year–after opening Centers in Europe and China. We currently operate 11 Mission-owned centers around the world, and we plan to continue to grow globally.”

About Mission Produce: Mission Produce operates state-of-the-art avocado packing facilities in California, Mexico, Peru and Chile. In addition, the company’s global distribution network includes nine ripe centers in North America, with additional ripe centers in Europe and China. Over the past 34 years, Mission has grown to become the leader in the worldwide avocado business.

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Loblaw lists Canada’s new food trends

Taste The New Next: Loblaw Challenges Canadians to Try Something Unexpected in 2017. Loblaw Food Council and food experts work together to launch 2017 Canadian Food Trends

Plant proteins, turmeric and meal kits feature high among the important food trends expected to be seen in Canada in 2017.

Based on its own data and input from experts, Canada’s largest retail chain, Loblaw, has released a list of the main ways the country’s food landscape is likely to change in the year ahead.

Under the marketing tagline ‘Taste the New Next, Loblaw predicted the following five themes will be the biggies for Canadian kitchens:

The New Conscious Consumer
Canadians will put the vegetable first and enhance their meal with smaller portions of proteins that are sustainably sourced. Consumption of alternative proteins, such as insects and plant-based proteins, will increase, and Canadians will also change the way they cook as they look to reduce food waste through root-to-stem or snout-to-tail cooking. Demand for responsibly sourced food and information on certification will grow.

The New Mindful Foodie
Canadians will be more conscious of what they consume and why, aiming to eat in a way that promotes physical and mental health. They will place more value on spices and ingredients serving a dual purpose, additive-free and raw foods such as seaweed, and simple ingredients that create great tasting food.  

The New Home Chef
The home chef will be a weekend food warrior, embracing slow cooking, preserving and canning and keen to try new recipes and ingredients. But during the week, meal kits – which allow a touch of personalisation without all the prep – and delivery services will be even more popular.

The New Connected Shopper
Online solutions – from pre-order to same-day delivery – will increase in popularity as Canadians visiting recipe sites and sharing food related content look to purchase recipe ingredients. Retailers need to respond by also providing inspiration in-store, via apps and through eCommerce.

The New Canadian Cuisine
Turmeric especially but also other international flavours and spices such as togarashi and za’atar will increasingly make their way into Canadian homes. Turmeric is already growing in popularity and being used more creatively in restaurants and even in cocktails.

Garry Senecal, president of the market division of Loblaw Companies Ltd said the Toronto-based group aims to keep innovating and engaging its customers “in new and unique food experiences.”

“With the introduction of the Loblaw 2017 Canadian Food Trends we hope to start a national conversation about what Canadians are eating and how we can continue to inspire our consumers’ creativity and adventurous spirit when feeding their families,” he said.

Loblaw Companies Ltd is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, with more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations, including more than 1,050 grocery stores.

Source of information and photos: Loblaw Companies Limited
Read the full list of the Loblaw 2017 Canadian Food Trends here: Taste The New Next: Loblaw Challenges Canadians to Try Something Unexpected in 2017


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Canada’s apple imports to dip 2%

For MY 2016/17, the USDA post forecasts an 11% increase in Canadian apple production, following an average growing season. Canada’s fresh apple imports are set to slip 2% to about 225,000 tons but the US should retain its 80% share of the total Canadian import volume.

Canada’s imports of fresh apples in the 2016/17 marketing year are set to slip 2% on the previous year to about 225,000 tons.

A recent GAIN report also says that based on forecasts from a USDA post in Canada, the US, Canada’s main supplier of fresh apples, will retain a stable market share of about 80% of those imports.

Canada’s fresh apple production for the 2016/17 marketing year (July to June) is expected to rise 11% to 375,000 tons.

“As the planted area remained unchanged from the previous year, this production increase is attributable to an overall good growing season in Ontario and British Columbia, two of the major apple producing provinces in Canada. However, a dry summer and blight have negatively impacted the production in Eastern Canada, particularly in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

“Over the past fifteen years, fresh apple production in Canada has slowly declined, consistent with reduced planted areas and reduced profitability of apple cultivation. However, data for the recent years seem to indicate that the sector has now stabilized, as growers have learned what production level is most economical and profitable,” the report says.

Canada’s apple industry was forced to downsize due to more affordable imports from the US, Chile and other low cost countries, as well as its high production costs and a strong Canadian dollar.

“Many apple growers responded to the evolving market situation by converting orchards over to new plantings of vinifera grapes (especially in British Columbia and Ontario) and other fruits, as well as by turning land over for new housing development projects,” the report says.

Growers planning to stay in the industry are turning to newer, more popular varieties such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp and new, modern intensive planting systems.

Meanwhile, Canadian apple consumers are trending away from some of the more traditional varieties, such as the McIntosh, which was once the most popular apple variety there.

According to the Ontario Apple Growers Association, these days one in every three apples eaten in Ontario is a Gala, most likely grown in Washington state or Chile.

Canada’s fresh apple exports are expected to inch up 2% to 35,000 tons in 2016/17.

“In general, the export volumes of the past several years represent about one-third of what Canada used to export over a decade ago. Canadian exports of fresh apples have steadily declined over the last 10-15 years, reflecting the overall decline in production and reduced profitability and competitiveness in export markets.”

Source: Canada Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual 2016, GAIN Report CA16051, 11/1/2016


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Oppy reports strong growth in sales of Envy™ apple

Envy currently ranks fifth in volume, behind the well-established Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, JAZZ™, and Ambrosia, which is remarkable given it has been commercially available for just four years, said Oppy’s executive category director for apples and pears David Nelley.

Sales of the Envy™ apple nearly doubled in volume between 2014 and 2015, reports Canada’s Oppenheimer Group (Oppy).

And Envy’s dollar contribution rose by over 120%, growing faster than all other premium apples in both measures, according to FreshLook data.

Vancouver-based Oppy, a leading fresh produce sales, marketing and distribution company, said Envy demonstrated the strongest growth in pounds and also the strongest growth in retail sales of 11 premium apples in 2015 compared to 2014.

The apple currently ranks fifth in volume, behind the well-established Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, JAZZ™, and Ambrosia, which is remarkable given it has been commercially available for just four years, said Oppy’s executive category director for apples and pears David Nelley.

“We’re proud of that achievement, but not surprised, given that one super premium retailer in California told us Envy has been the biggest item in terms of gross sales in the entire store for certain periods,” Nelley said.


The Washington crop sold out in March but from June through September, Oppy sources the bright red apple – which it says has a crisp crunch and intense sweetness all season long – from New Zealand and Chile.

It said last week that the New Zealand Envy crop was already on its way, “much to the delight of retailers across North America, who are eager for the strong dollar and volume contributions of this premium apple to resume.”

“Cool nights and dry harvest days have colored up this season’s New Zealand Envy crop beautifully. Our retail partners are in for a real treat, not only because the fruit looks and tastes so good, but its category contribution is proven and continues to come on strong,” Nelley said.

Source: Oppy
Main Envy™ apple image:

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Walmart to open 15 supercentres across Canada this month

Walmart Canada will soon boast 400 stores, including 312 supercentres and 88 discount stores.

Walmart Canada will grand open 15 supercentres this month – representing an investment of more than $100 million – and completing its expansion plan for the company’s current fiscal year, ending January 31, 2016, according to a company media release.

In addition to the 29 supercentre projects announced on February 22, 2015, an additional 13 supercentres were announced on May 8, 2015, of which five will have their grand opening next week. These grand openings will bring Walmart Canada’s total store count to 400 stores, including 312 supercentres and 88 discount stores.

“We’re thrilled to open our 400th location in Canada this month, as well as our 300th supercentre,” said Preyash Thakrar, senior vice president, strategy and real estate. “These supercentres will provide even more Canadian communities with affordable access to quality fresh groceries and one-stop shopping, while also saving them money.”

Walmart serves more than 1.2 million customers each day. Its online store,, is visited by over 450,000 Canadians daily.

One-stop shopping

Walmart Supercentres offer up to 120,000 products, including a full complement of groceries –fresh produce, bakery goods, deli, meat and dairy products and organic selection as well as apparel, home decor and electronics. They also offer specialty services including pharmacies, garden centres and medical clinics.

“Walmart’s supercentres provide unparalleled access to a one-stop shopping experience,” added Thakrar. “Our supercentres deliver low prices everyday on the thousands of items Canadians want, especially quality, affordable fresh food for their families,” Thakrar said.

Additional company information can be found at:

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New midweek format for CPMA 2016

The Annual Convention & Trade Show is CPMA’s keystone event and Canada’s largest event dedicated to the fruit and vegetable industry. The event provides a unique forum for industry leaders to enhance their business opportunities in Canada through an exceptional combination of education and networking opportunities.

Canada’s biggest fresh produce event, the CPMA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show, will take place from April 12 -14, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta.

It is the first time the event will run from a Tuesday to Thursday and the CPMA (the Canadian Produce Marketing Association) says the midweek format aims to make visiting the show easier for retail and foodservice members and to increase traffic on the trade show floor.

Features of the show include the New Product Showcase and Best New Product Award competition. This year, for new products or packaging considered “kid friendly,” a ‘Freggie Approved’ decal can be added to the relevant showcase.

During the CPMA Convention and Trade Show, to be held in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park, Passion for Produce will also take place. This is a programme created by the CPMA to provide rising stars among its members the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the supply chain through mentorship and participation in various events.

Participants from the 2015 Passion for Produce programme

Free retail produce manager and foodservice educational sessions will also be hosted at the event with the goal of providing participants with key information that will allow them to gain insights into the produce industry supply chain, improve their produce knowledge, network with other members of the produce industry, and discover how to offer even more value to their customers.

The CPMA Annual Convention & Trade Show attracts buyers from major retail chain stores and foodservice distributors, including Walmart, Loblaw, Metro, Costco, Longo’s, Sobeys, Farmboy, the Grocery People, GFS, Fresh Street Market, IGA, Sysco, Safeway, Colemans Food Centres, Compass Group, Giant Tiger Stores, No Frills, Thrifty Foods, T&T supermarket, Quality Foods and Provigo.

Overall, it is “unique forum for industry leaders to enhance existing and develop new their business opportunities in Canada through an exceptional combination of education and networking opportunities.” The convention and trade show attract more than 3,000 participants – including industry executives, members from all segments of the fresh produce supply chain, and government representatives who are directly or indirectly involved in the Canadian fresh fruit and vegetable sector – and showcases produce from around the world.


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Canada moves to new, more profitable apple varieties

Many Canadian apple growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal,

An interesting shift in consumer preferences in apples in Canada is outlined in a recent report by the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

For decades and for generations of Canadians, McIntosh was the most popular variety of apples, according to GAIN’s 2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada. But in the last decade in Ontario, which accounts for nearly 40% of all Canadians, Gala apples have cornered a 33% market share of the province’s apple growing industry and the McIntosh stands at just 12%. The Ontario Apple Growers Association reports that “one in every three apples eaten in Ontario is a Gala, most likely grown in Washington state or Chile.”

Many Canadian growers have adopted a new variety strategy as a way to improve profitability, as new varieties tend to sell at a premium price and have gained significant consumer appeal, GAIN says, citing a newspaper report that “Honeycrisp apples sell at a 50% premium.”

In Ontario, Empire now makes up about 20% of production, followed by Spy at about 15%, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp and Gala at 8-10% of production and Idared and Golden Delicious at about 5% each.

In Quebec, Cortland and Spartan account for about 8-10% each of the provincial production, followed by Empire and Paula Red at about 5%.

In Nova Scotia, Cortland comes first after McIntosh, at about 20% of production, followed by Spy and Idared at under 15% each, and Honeycrisp at about 8% of production.

And in British Columbia it is Gala, with over 40% of production, which has moved way ahead of Red Delicious (8%) and McIntosh (10%) as the most popular variety. According to the Canadian Horticulture Council, the introduction of new varieties has been particularly important in British Columbia, where growers have been planting new varieties like Spartan, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Jonagold, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia.

New plantings of Ambrosia, which apparently commands the highest premium among all apple varieties in British Columbia, have nearly doubled every year in the past five years, and the variety has been so well received by the market that producers cannot keep up with demand.

Apple imports climb, production declines in Canada

GAIN forecasts a 20% increase in Canadian imports of fresh apples, estimated at 260,000 tons for marketing year (MY) 2015/16 up from 217,000 tons during MY 2014/15. The US remains Canada’s largest supplier of fresh apples, with a stable market share of about 80%.

Canada’s fresh apple production, meanwhile, is forecast to decline by 23% in MY 2015/16, down to 290,000 tons from 374,000 tons during MY 2014/15.

“This decline is attributable to a host of weather related developments such as: a late spring frost followed by a cool and wet summer season in Ontario, a dry and hot growing season in British Columbia, and heavy winter snow and a late spring in Nova Scotia. Production in Quebec is anticipated to exceed last year’s level, supported by a very good growing season,” GAIN says.

“Over the long term, the decline in fresh apple production in Canada is consistent with reduced planted areas which, in turn, reflected the declining profitability of apple cultivation over the past decade. Data for the recent years seem to indicate that the sector has now stabilized, as growers have learned what production level is most economical and profitable.”

“Growers that intend to remain in the industry are turning to newer, more popular varieties such as Ambrosia and Honeycrisp and new, modern intensive planting systems in an attempt to remain competitive with imports. Through talks with apple growers in Eastern Canada Post learned about a new trend among some producers to diversify into brewing hard cider as a way to increase profitability, a practice that has met success to date. To assist producers facing industry pressures and changing markets, Canada’s federal and provincial authorities offered replant programs between 2008 and 2010.”

source: GAIN report –2015 Fresh Deciduous Fruit Annual for Canada