As part of our new grain program, David Hobson attended the BIOFACH 2015 in Nuremburg, Germany in February. BIOFACH is the world’s largest organic trade show, with over 2,200 presenters, all of whom are certified organic. Participants include buyers, processors and traders from all over the world, but about two thirds are from Europe.
This visit was part of a new effort to assess potential international buyers for Prairie grain and other ingredients produced in the region. Of particular interest in Europe are oilseeds (flax, hemp, borage), wheat (bread and durum), and soybeans. European processors tend to prefer supplies from the closer Eastern European countries, and their prices are very competitive. Some Canadian Prairie farmers were also at the trade show looking for buyers that they could direct market to. Trade commissioners were also on hand, and the Canadian Organic Trade Association organized strategic meetings and introduced us to key players. Several interested buyers stopped by our booth with inquiries for Canadian products like wheat, flax and durum. This trip was our first activity in our market development program and Organic Alberta will continue to work closely with the Canadian Organic Trade Association to connect growers to markets.
In the latest sign of diversification and expansion in Canada’s organic market, the fast-food chain A&W Canada has announced it will exclusively offer organic and Fair Trade coffee in all of its locations. A&W is Canada’s second-largest hamburger chain, with 819 locations nationwide. A number of retail and brand owners have recently announced they will expand their organic offerings and presence in the Canadian market, which COTA now estimates at over $4 billion per year.
Executive Director Becky Lipton was in Anaheim, California recently building relationships and making connections with buyers of Alberta and prairie based organic products. Alberta company Baby Gourmet was just one of the companies represented at the Natural Products Expo West. This annual event is one of the world's largest trade events for the natural food and organic product sector and attracts food companies, industry associations, trade agencies, marketers and buyers from across North America.