Grocery Business Magazine

March 24, 2016

SIAL Montreal 2016 set for record attendance
National food show announces 10 innovation award finalists, amidst spiking pre-bookings and sold-out booth space for the April event.

The SIAL 2016 media blitz got underway earlier today, with the announcement of the ten finalists in the show’s innovation contest. Winners will display their wares at the national food trade show that will take place in Montreal next month.

There, according to Xavier Poncin, executive director at SIAL, they will have access to a growing crowd of retailers, caterers and food processors. “Early numbers are encouraging,” said Poncin. “Pre-registrations are up 31% compared to last year and we have sold out all of the booth space. We have been forced to set up a waiting list, to accommodate late bookers.”

Key to the strong interest has been a 60% increase in booth registrations by merchants from Western Canada. While it is too early to tell exactly what drove the spike in rentals, many Canadian vendors may be taking advantage of the cheap loonie (which makes their products less expensive in international markets) to make pitches to SIAL’s strong base of international visitors.

Increased interest in the SIAL Montreal event, which is held on alternate years as its Toronto version, is good news for organizers, who had been wondering whether the strategy was ideal. “We heard suggestions that SIAL Canada should be held in Toronto all the time,” said Pontin. “However the surge in interest we are seeing here, coupled with Quebec’s strong domestic food industry, suggests that we made the right choice.”

Innovation: key to breaking through the noise
According to Francis Parisien, vice-president (Eastern Canada) at Nielsen, SIAL’s focus on innovation, is one of its strong points, during a time when marketers are facing increased challenges in gaining and keeping customer acceptance. “Close to 85% of new products fail,” said Parisien, whose firm has been tracking new product success criteria for years. “A typical supermarket consumer has access to more than 40,000 products when they shop. But during the past year, Canadian consumers put only 940 items on average in their baskets. That gives a good illustration about how hard it is to break through.”

Neilsen defines a successful product innovation as one that generates significant new market share, without cannibalizing existing sales, and maintaining that performance for several years. “Companies too often invest in development, packaging and marketing in early years, but then take their foot off the gas,” said Parisien. “Too have enduring success you need to continue to invest.”

Innovation winners this year, picked by an independent jury composed of nine nutritionists, educators, chefs and consultants, included meat, fruit, desert, and snack products.

The SIAL innovation awards are also an excellent way to drum up interest in the show says one participant. “We worked hard to develop our new SEARRANNO salmon delicatessen product,” said Chantal Lemery, co-owner of Seacatessen Fine Food. “Response so far has been very good. However the real test will be whether the buyers agree.”

SIAL 2016 will take place between April 13th to 15th at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès.

The ten SIAL innovation finalists are:

• Heritage Ham Trio by Arturo Sánchez, Spain – Booth #1401
• Assorted Chocolates with Sorbet and Ice Cream Centres by Essence Glacier, Canada – Booth #823

• Chios Gardens Fruit Juices, Greece – Booth #2505
• Date Bites by Bard Valley, United States – Booth #910
• Salmon Tartare by Grizzly, Canada – Booth #723
• Et Voilà! Camelina Oil by Olimega, Canada – Booth #215A
• Snack-Format Ham by Arturo Sánchez, Spain – Booth #1401
• Poutine Bites by St-Hubert, Canada – Booth #2647
• Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Cake by Bleumer, Canada – Booth #2634
• MesurACC Labelling Verification System by Étiquetage ACC Inc., Canada – Booth #2630



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