Earlier this year, Niagara and Hamilton’s Economic Development Departments and partners collaborated with Whole Foods to connect food and beverage processors in the area with the tools and knowledge needed to get into grocery stores.
More than 100 people attended the event, Raise the Barcode: Get your Product on Grocery Store Shelves.
“We partnered on this event to create an opportunity for our food and beverage processors to get in front of some of the big names in retail,” shares Kelly Provost, Niagara Region Economic Development Officer. “The partners involved in this event were truly critical to making this event such a success.”
The event came together through a collaboration between Niagara Region Economic Development, the City of Niagara Falls, Hamilton Economic Development, Cushman & Wakefield, Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre, St. Catharines Enterprise Centre and the Niagara Falls Small Business Enterprise Centre.
Processors in attendance learned how to craft a competitive market pitch to grocers through guidance from Gary Macdonald of Whole Foods Market, and Casey Eleusiniotis and Andrea Ramlogan of Jon Luca Enterprise Ltd. They also covered the steps needed to be prepared to stock a product on grocery store shelves.
“The presentations by Whole Foods and Jon Luca Enterprise contained step-by-step information for businesses to understand how to best work with them,” explains Provost. “The event was hosted at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre, who is ready to help businesses with the missing steps to be retail-ready. We couldn’t be happier with the turnout at the event and we hope to consider planning other events like this in the future.”
Such events also provide the unique opportunity for food and beverage processors to network with each other and others who can help turn their dreams into a reality.
Following the keynote presentation, attendees went on a tour of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre and met the highly skilled team there that can help bring businesses to the next level.
The Centre offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes.
The event was a great success, and we too hope to see more of this strategic collaboration in the future!