Insights from the 91st CPMA Convention - Calgary, AB

GROWING STRONG - this years CPMA convention theme was front and center as the BMO Centre busted at the seems with producers, retailers, suppliers and more. We arrived on site for the grand opening of the trade show and spent the day taking in all the new trends and ideas. 

Packaging was big this year, as some brands leaned towards a more retro look and some to the functional modern look. There were a number of producers including Sunset and Topline Farms using fibre pints with a top seal for organics, giving it that farm to market feel, while protecting the produce from damage and handling. 

There were a variety of new bad designs this year. The most prominent ones were the Sun Select grape tomato bag that looks like a mason jar which is resealable, microwavable sweet potatoes from Side Delights called 'Steamables', and even eco carbon negative peppers in reusable produce bags from Sunset. Packaging also gave way to producers to add a sense of sustainability as Jet Labels provides FSC certified labeling options.

There were chefs galore this year as Sunset, Sunkiss, Littlehouse and the Netherlands, wow'd attendees by cooking up some fantastic bite-sized delights. with this came the introduction of Mann's 'Culinary Cuts', where the prepared product such as cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, remove a lot of the work with ready to cook veggies. There was also an influx of ready to cook with herbs and spices, now giving the consumer all the herbs and spices they need in one package to create a marinade or specific cooking flavour, such as Italian or Indian. 

And of course some great Canadian products were on show. Little Potato Company celebrates their 20th anniversary, as Angela Santagio also receives the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Celebration of Achievement Award. They launched a new style of potato called 'Chilean Splash' available in retail outlets now. We also got to taste Arctic Apples, which have been breed to not turn brown as the fruit ages. Even the dried apples slices were as white as biting into a fresh apple. 

Take a look at the pictures below to see some of the highlights from this years CPMA Trade Show.