BrandSpark 2018 Best New Product Awards Yields Opportunities

Catelli Protein Pasta

We are all familiar with the saying “The best thing since sliced bread!” Well, it turns out that in 2018 the best thing is the sliced bread.

Dempster’s 100% Whole Grains Seed Lover’s Bread with CHIA

In the BrandSpark 2018 Best New Product Awards[1], a research study which identifies the best new consumer packaged goods of the year, Dempster’s 100% Whole Grains Seed Lover’s Bread with Chia was the winner in the ‘Bread’ category.

The study is based on more than 15,000 Canadians’ preferences for new products and provides valuable insights for consumers and producers. It shows that the majority (more than 7 out of 10) of Canadian consumers welcome innovation and new products. Validation in the form of positive reviews from fellow consumers—or from consumer studies such as the BrandSpark Best New Product Awards—further entice consumer to try new products.

Focusing on food categories, the BrandSpark 2018 Best New Product Awards suggest that Canadians are more open to innovative food products that contain not only ‘standard’ grains such as wheat, oats and barley. Some of the category winners suggest that ‘new’ grains such as quinoa, chia and rice varieties other than white rice are becoming top consumer choices. Minute Rice Ready To Serve Cups – White & Red Quinoa or Brown Rice with Wheat, Rye, Quinoa, Oats and Barley, was the winner in the ‘Side Dish’ category, and oh! Naturel Black Bean Bites, Quinoa Mushroom Burger, & Garden Vegetable Bites took the top spot in ‘Meat Alternative’.

For food items about 80% of consumers said they value products that are ‘natural.’ Not surprisingly, it was also found that the best recipe for a successful new food product is one that both tastes good and provides improved nutrition. The 2017 National Shopper Report, also published by BrandSpark International, measures Canadian shoppers’ habits and attitudes and it found that consumers are looking for ways to be healthier without making sacrifices, so convenience is a major factor. Thus, the winning combination for future products could be new innovative foods that are both healthy and convenient.

So, what could the result of study like this mean for growers and producers in Saskatchewan?

Oh Naturel Quinoa Mushroom Burger

Looking at it with a lens of innovation and opportunity, the changes in consumer preferences and tastes open up new possibilities for producers in a range of food products. Saskatchewan’s focus on value-added food processing and production, and the province’s developing supercluster for plant based proteins through the Protein Industries Canada’s initiative, makes the Prairies a breeding ground for more innovation in agriculture.

Nature Valley Crunch Bar Granola which won the ‘Breakfast Food’ category is a great example of a product that uses several ingredients that are grown and can be produced in Saskatchewan. Catelli Protein Pasta claimed the top spot in the ‘Specialty Pasta’ category. With similar products containing plant based protein gaining in popularity, this could be very good news for Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan, which grows the majority of Canada’s quinoa, also grows the majority of wild rice, fenugreek, and camelina. The province is also t second largest grower of haskap berries and the third biggest grower of spelt in Canada[2]. As health conscious food products increase in popularity, this could become a real advantage for Saskatchewan.

Following consumer tastes and preferences can provide Saskatchewan with further opportunities in many areas of agriculture, processing and value- added food production with chain effects to manufacturing and other industries. Combining that knowledge with an understanding of consumers’ habits and attitudes to shopping can guide the opportunities waiting for the province’s entrepreneurs and identify the next best thing to sliced bread.


1 http://bestnewproductawards.biz/canada/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/2018-BNPA-News-Release-March-27_final.pdf

2 By crop area. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/96-325-x/2017001/article/54924-eng.htm