While walking the aisles of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) Annual Trade Show last year, we were struck by the number of regionally-organized hubs.
Businesses from Mexico and other regions sat under big banners. They displayed their products as a united team, drawing in crowds who knew what they wanted and just needed a sign to point them in the right direction. What a missed opportunity, to not do the same for Ontario products at the largest restaurant and foodservices show in Canada!
So we did. Last week was the CRFA Annual Trade Show 2013, and we were proud to work with 50 innovative Ontario food businesses and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Planning Committee.
There was a variety of products and services on display in the Ontario Pavilion: meats, cheeses, and eggs; preserves and pickles; fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs; baked goods and beer; locally-geared cold storage solutions and regional food organizations; and what Ontario Pavilion would be complete without the archetypal maple syrup? Nobody walking through could miss the Pavilion with dynamic personalities (including the Food Network’s own Anna Olson) and enchantingly Ontarian aromas wafting from the demonstration stage.
With one, large voice we enticed the province’s restaurants, buyers, and chefs who are always looking to satisfy their consumers’ demands for local food. It’s no big surprise that many of the businesses at the CRFA Show were looking for local product (in fact it was the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association who made this point in their annual chef survey). We were happy to make it easy and fun for everyone involved!
Just one week later we’re already looking forward to CRFA 2014 (and I promise it isn’t justbecause of the free delicious food samples). Hope to see you there!
- Madeline Ritchie, Program Assistant