CHFA NOW Trade Show (Toronto, Sept 23-24, 2023):A Mosaic of Sustainability, Social Good, and the Foundations of Family Business

CHFA NOW Trade Show (Toronto, Sept 23-24, 2023):
A Mosaic of Sustainability, Social Good, and the Foundations of Family Business
By Joe Lyons-Rising

October 2023

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) NOW show in Toronto, On was a vibrant canvas, brimming with innovation, passion, and stories that resonate.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to GreenFresh Marketing and Marsham Natural Food Brokers for setting the stage (quite literally!) for my DJ gig at their amazing booth on Day 1 of the show. Rob Rathke, VP of Marketing at GreenFresh, deserves a special shoutout for orchestrating this super fun experience.

Let’s dive into my key takeaways from my first time attending a CHFA show:

The Pulse of Social Good:

Navigating the CHFA landscape, the commitment to social causes was unmistakable.

Purplesful Snacking Popcorn isn’t just about delightful snacking. Their mission goes deeper, with 25% of their profits being directed to charitable initiatives, such as Breakfast Club of Canada, Backpack Buddies Local Charity and Hockey Diversity Alliance Charity. Every kernel pops with purpose.

Cafézia serves more than a heartwarming brew of coffee. Their fairtrade certification speaks of ethical sourcing, community empowerment, and quality. Plus, my chat with Jenna Goodhand, their Executive Director, reaffirmed their commitment to brewing change.

Deebee’s Organics wears its B Corp badge proudly. Behind their organic treats lies a drive to champion inclusivity and support the needs of mother’s and

working parents, truly reflecting the strong values of Founder and PhD Medical Scientist Dr. Dionne Baker.

Guardians of the Green:

Many brands wore their commitment to the environment on their sleeves.

Humble Potato Chips, led by the passionate Alicia Lahey, Co-Founder & CEO, is revolutionizing eco-friendly snacking. Their groundbreaking compostable chip bag embodies their commitment to taste and the environment. Alicia’s vision seamlessly marries culinary excellence with sustainable responsibility.

The Unscented Company, another proud B Corp, echoes purity in their products and an unyielding passion for environmental care. Founder & CEO, Anie Rouleau, is also one of the kindest souls in our industry and we are so grateful for her sage insights during our own B Corp application process.

ECOS showcased their plant-derived cleaners, each reflecting their commitment to a greener planet. My engaging discussion with Ron Tallia, Vice President – Business Development at ECOS, reinforced the idea that businesses can and should play a pivotal role in championing environmental sustainability and social good.

And speaking of clean, B Corp certified, Every Man Jack is making sure that our grooming routine doesn’t leave a carbon footprint. Snazzy and sustainable? Sign me up!

Foundations of Family Business

The tales from fellow family-run ventures and entrepreneurs were heartening, to say the least.

Nanashake weaves a delightful story of vegan treats and family bonds. Yazeed and his wife Tamara Al Dip are more than business partners; they’re life partners creating a brand legacy. Their daughter Rafa has been attending trade shows, demos and events with her parents since she was 6 and knows their business inside out. You need to read the heartwarming story of Rafa’s successful pitch for NanaPop listings at Metro Ontario.

Pepper North Artisan Foods with Anna Stevens narrating their journey to me, showcased the intricate blend of personal and professional lives with her business partner and husband Drew Stevens in the crafting of their delicious artisanal hot sauces. Which was featured on the hit show “Hot Ones” Season 11!

The GFB (Gluten Free Brothers): Jeremy and Jordan Eber are the driving force behind The Gluten Free Brothers. Inspired by personal challenges to find quality gluten-free options, these siblings founded a brand blending flavor and integrity. Their B Corp certification underscores their dedication to ethical and sustainable

practices. With every bite of their products, you’re tasting not just innovation, but the passion of two brothers transforming gluten-free living.

In Retrospect…

The CHFA Now show was more than just an industry event; it was a reflection of dreams, stories, and a collective drive for better. Each brand, each handshake, and each product unveiled tales of ambition, dedication, and heart.

Here’s to a brighter, more conscientious future in the realm of health and wellness. We can only move forward!


Top Trends in the Canadian CPG Industry: A Deep Dive into eCommerce, Personalization, Health & Wellness, Sustainability, AI, and Loyalty Data

Top Trends in the Canadian CPG Industry: A Deep Dive into eCommerce, Personalization, Health & Wellness, Sustainability, AI, and Loyalty Data
By Joe Lyons-Rising

May 2023

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry in Canada is witnessing big changes. As we move ahead, let’s unravel the significant trends shaping the future of CPG in Canada.

Firstly, eCommerce has experienced unprecedented growth in the CPG sector. With the pandemic-triggered surge in online shopping since 2020, it has become critical for Canadian CPG companies to streamline their eCommerce platforms and enhance their online customer journey. Leveraging data analytics to understand consumer behaviour is key to offering tailored experiences.

Next, the spotlight is on personalization. Today’s consumers expect customized experiences. CPG retailers and vendors are leveraging data analytics to deliver personalized product recommendations and promotions. It’s like experiencing the convenience of a personal shopping assistant from your home!

Another trend gaining momentum is health and wellness. Data-driven insights are enabling CPG brands to comprehend consumer attitudes towards a healthier lifestyle, empowering them to develop and promote health-conscious products. Who doesn’t love the sense of well-being that comes with a healthy choice?

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a top priority in the Canadian CPG industry. Brands are taking strides to minimize waste, evolve environmentally sustainable products and packaging, and understand consumer attitudes towards sustainability using data analytics. It’s our chance to contribute to the planet, one product at a time!

Embracing AI and Machine Learning is the way forward for CPG companies. These technologies offer the ability to dissect large data sets and make insightful, timely decisions. Such as optimizing promotions and trade spend. 

Lastly, loyalty card data continues to be an invaluable resource. CPG companies can utilize this information to understand consumer purchasing trends, preferred products, and popular brands. It’s the big data of the CPG industry, with deep learning of your customers’ preferences.

In conclusion, these are the top trends shaping the Canadian CPG industry. Stay up-to-date on these trends and the latest technologies to gain a competitive edge in the market.

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