SIAL Canada’s 17th Edition: WRAPPING UP AN EXCEPTIONAL YEAR!

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The 17th edition of the International Food & Beverage Tradeshow (SIAL Canada) and its section for the equipment and technology sectors (SET Canada) was 100% virtual this year, allowing the industry to come together and do business despite the restrictions in place. The show was held from September 28 to October 2 as Food Week, and this extraordinary edition ended on a remarkably successful note!

SIAL Canada is always synonymous with innovation, both local and international!
With 250 exhibitors and brands from more than 31 countries and roughly 18,340 connections from more than 112 countries, this edition of SIAL Canada and SET Canada has once again proven to be a success—both in terms of its offerings and its visitors! According to Xavier Poncin, SIAL Canada’s Executive Director, the 2020 edition confirms the necessity for such an event, especially in the current circumstances where the food industry is looking for business-related support: “As in many other industries, it’s been a difficult year for event organizers. However, with tremendous support from the food industry and an incredible team, we were able to find the energy to rapidly reinvent ourselves. The results exceeded our expectations for a first edition of this type—whether in terms of participation in the virtual show itself, the buyers program, or the virtual conferences—and we have rarely witnessed quite this much enthusiasm. The conferences even attracted more people than we had face-to-face! These results all confirm several parts of our strategy: Firstly, our position as food-inspiration leaders allows us to attract the industry, even in a virtual setting—but beyond that, we were also able to confirm that virtual formats are added opportunities to conduct business! Never have we had so many visiting countries at our show—112 is an extraordinary number! We will continue to combine our efforts across both virtual and face-to-face platforms, to the benefit of all our participants. SIAL Canada 2021 in Toronto next September will be in a hybrid trade show!”

A look back at the show’s three major competitions

SIAL INNOVATION
During the first day of the show, the three big winners of the prestigious SIAL Innovation contest were unveiled as part of a live virtual ceremony bringing together 120 participants! A total of 38 applications were submitted to take part in this 13th edition of the competition. We would like to thank everyone who participated and congratulate the 10 finalists for their incredible innovations: LOC Industries, Fromagerie l’Ancêtre, Juçaí, Art Kombucha, Ideal Aluminum, William Spartivento Coffee, Top Glaciers Inc., WOW! Factor Desserts, and Boréal Foods!

  • Congratulations to Art Kombucha for its beer fermented using kombucha culture, which won the SIAL Innovation 2020 Gold Grand Prize! Why this product? For the original way it marries two popular beverages and for the many attributes that make it so attractive to its target market: 5% alcohol, only 130 calories, no residual sugar, versatility of use, and contemporary design.
  • Congratulations to Ideal Aluminum for its 100% compostable box for roast chicken, which won the SIAL Innovation 2020 Silver Grand Prize! Why this product? For its quality and the consistency of every aspect of its design. It’s made from material that’s not only compostable, but which is actually recycled plant material—and that’s quite a challenge when the food being packaged inside it is hot and oily! The box also does an excellent job of retaining the heat of the chicken and is very easy to handle, both for the operator and the consumer.
  • Congratulations to LOC Industries for its vegan butter, which won the SIAL Innovation 2020 Bronze Grand Prix! Why this product? Its ingredient: a mixture of vegetable oil and aquafaba, with no palm oil. The quality of the finished product also provides a texture and profile that’s very similar to butter, thereby allowing it to be replaced in equal quantities in a wide variety of applications.

THE PITCH COMPETITION
On the third day of the virtual show, the Pitch Competition ceremony took place, bringing together more than 50 participants. This competition is incredibly close to SIAL Canada’s heart—and the hearts of its partners Niagara College Canada, Mitacs, Nielsen, CTAQ, the City of Montreal, Mycélium, and Sobeys—who are keen to support up-and-comers!

  • Congratulations to Art Kombucha, which won first prize in the food company category! Why this start-up? Its innovative concept completely aligns with current food trends, matches consumer demand, and meshes very well with social and cultural consumption habits. It features impressive biochemistry that lets it achieve the desired alcohol levels and a process that’s ready to be scaled up—which includes sterile filtration to ensure food safety. The jury members were very excited to taste it!
  • Congratulations to Novagrow, which won first prize in the technology company category! Why this start-up? It offers a product aligned with food, health, and culinary trends by allowing consumers to grow vegetables, herbs, and microgreens anywhere in their homes! Up to 6 varieties can be grown at a time using this technology. Critical elements, such as water and light, are automatically controlled for improved results. Its strong marketing potential completely won over the jury members!
  • Congratulations to Les Snorôs, which won second prize in the food company category! Why this start-up? It provides an incredible waffle made from “ugly” vegetables. It’s also grounded in the main drivers of innovation: nutrition and sustainability. The product is ready to be scaled up and brought to market.
  • Congratulations to Bello Solutions, which won second prize in the technology company category! Why this start-up? Bello Solutions has created a sustainable product by purifying water, limiting the use of water bottles, and even stimulating creativity. Consumers can personalize the flavours of their drinks and even add minerals if they want. The jury members can’t wait to explore all the flavours, minerals, and more!

OLIVE D’OR
For this 15th edition of the biggest international extra-virgin olive oil competition in Canada, the jury, presided over by olive-oil expert Christine Cheylan, was made up of 7 members—each with unmistakable experience in the field. After that jury’s deliberations, the 16 best extra-virgin olive oils submitted by producers from around the world were selected to be named the Golden, Silver, or Bronze Drop or the jury’s Coup de Coeur in the ripe fruitiness, light fruit, intense fruit, and medium fruit categories.

Inspirational content driving record participation in live and rebroadcasted virtual conferences!

Each of the 32 virtual conferences for visitors was presented by bona fide experts from the field, making it possible to provide high-quality, varied content. With more than 1,700 live participants and 1,850 replay views, our content has never before been viewed and shared at this volume!
Among the key themes, innovation was the common thread across all our conferences! Whether through topics related to food tech—highlighting the many trends and innovations worldwide and in food service, packaging, robotization and Industry 4.0—social innovation, or the future of consumption by generation. Another particularly topical subject was the impact of COVID-19 on consumption and how companies are adapting to this new challenge. Finally, it’s worth mentioning the various sessions dedicated to food start-ups, which provided participants with sound advice on launching their businesses and was a huge success!

Special thanks go out to all our partners involved with the conferences! Replay our conferences on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SialCanada

The Central Experts Hub – Thanking our experts!
Once again this year, SIAL Canada was proud to welcome 14 experts from 12 fields of expertise. Their sound advice and professional recommendations were featured at the Central Experts Hub. In this space, during the three days of the exhibition, participants could attend a wide variety of panel discussions and make appointments with each of the experts. We’d like to thank each of them for their active role in the success of this 17th edition and their unconditional support!

For the complete list of experts: https://sialcanada.com/en/experts/

Another successful Buyers Program
The SIAL Canada buyers program—which is the only international program of its kind in Canada and is supported by every level of government—once again produced spectacular numbers this year! Nearly 170 meetings took place between 70 buyers and 50 exhibitors from 23 different countries over the 5 days of the show. We would like to thank our official partners: MAPAQ and Agriculture Canada.
The entire SIAL Canada team would like to congratulate each of the participants who made this special edition a success at every level! We look forward to seeing you next year for SIAL Canada’s 18th edition at the Enercare Centre in Toronto. Change will again be at the heart of next year’s event, since it will be the SIAL Canada’s first hybrid edition, featuring both face-to-face and online components! Mark these dates in your calendar: September 21 to 23, 2021!

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