As the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture products, Canada’s farming communities largely depend on foreign markets for their livelihood. However, our actions here at home can still go a long way to sustain the ability of our local heroes to continue producing high-quality food and beverage products that are as wonderfully diverse as our terrain, our seasons and our people.
This is why MENU Magazine is proud to introduce A Restaurateur’s Guide to Buying Canadian in order to put Canada on the menu — a special collaboration with Food Day Canada.
Started 15 years ago as a mid-summer day of action, which still takes place annually on the first Saturday in August, Food Day Canada has become a year-round movement for promoting Canada’s distinct and diverse culinary culture with each other and the world.
Each installment in this series we will showcase a different selection of organizations from Canada’s food and beverage community and highlight how restaurateurs can benefit from what they bring to the table. They will explain why you should think about buying Canadian.
In this first round we are shining a light on some food and beverage brands who proudly produce products with Canadian ingredients.
French’s might be most famous for its mustard, but the brand is just as fiercely proud of the ketchup it sells in Canada — made from all-Canadian ingredients by workers in Canada, and all bottled here in Canada. The result is a superior product, free of preservatives and artificial flavours, made from freshly harvested tomatoes. Most come from Leamington, Ont. — the Tomato Capital of Canada, and home to North America’s largest concentration of produce greenhouses. “You get great tomatoes in southwest Ontario,” French’s President Elliott Penner once told CBC. Whether it’s adding a bit of sweet and tangy flavour to their famous fries, some winter comfort food or a juicy game-day burger, French’s encourages Canadian chefs to #ShareALittleRed and enjoy their all-Canadian ketchup together with customers.
Lay’s potato chips crossed the border into Canada in 1962 and won over Canadians with their crispy and guaranteed fresh taste. By 1997, Lay’s potato chips became a favourite choice for Canadians and are considered Canada’s favourite potato chip brand to this day. Manufactured locally, every bag of chips sold in Canada begins with specially selected, homegrown Canadian potatoes. Every potato is carefully washed, peeled, sliced, and cooked until perfectly crisp. With more than 20 flavours to choose from, Canadians have a variety of ways to Make Life Flavourful with Lay’s.
Mill Street Brewery
A recent national survey conducted by Mill Street Brewery revealed that a staggering 74 per cent of Canadians who want cleaner beer options expect the variety in their organic beer choices to keep up with the increasing availability of organic food products. As a Canadian organic brewing pioneer, Mill Street recently expanded its organic lineup to include its Tankhouse Ale and Cobblestone Stout alongside its iconic Original Organic Lager and 100th Meridian Amber Lager. The brewery is committed to using Canadian Prairie malt throughout its entire lineup, believing that organic production supports sustainable farms, communities and our environment. Mill Street’s expanded organic lineup is available across the country, giving all Canadians access to great tasting, award-winning beer, crafted naturally without artificial preservatives, additives or fertilizers.
Walter Craft Caesar
Invented in Calgary in 1969 by bartender Walter Chell, there are few things more uniquely Canadian than the Caesar cocktail. To childhood friends Aaron and Zack, it seemed crazy that there were no Canadian-made, all-natural Caesar mixes available. So in late 2013, they launched Walter Craft Caesar, proudly making premium Caesar Mix (and Rim) using all-natural ingredients right here in Canada. All Walter products are free from things commonly found in mass-market Caesar mixes, like artificial colours, flavours, added MSG and high-fructose corn syrup. Walter also uses sustainably-sourced clam juice, making their Caesar mixes the first in Canada to be Ocean Wise recommended. For those looking for a plant-based Caesar cocktail, Walter recently launched a brand new Vegan Caesar Mix, which uses dulse (edible seaweed), hand-harvested from the Bay of Fundy, in place of clam juice. You can get to know Walter at grocery retailers across Canada and in many of Canada’s best restaurants from coast to coast.
For more than a hundred years, High Liner has provided top quality seafood products to customers across North America. For instance, High Liner Culinary North Atlantic Sea Scallops are harvested from the cold, clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and flash frozen at sea within hours after harvesting to maintain maximum freshness. No water soaking, no additives or enhancers, just pure Canadian sea scallops. Chefs love how these MSC Certified and Ocean Wise recommended scallops sear to a deep bronze colour, and that they are available year-round in a wide variety of sizes. High Liner Culinary Cooked Shell-On Mussels from Prince Edward Island are another favourite for Canadian chefs, helping them save time without sacrificing quality. Ocean Wise recommended, they are harvested at their peak from estuaries in the northeastern regions of the Island, so each mussel is nice and plump. Before they are flash frozen to preserve their freshness, they are carefully cleaned to remove any beards and grit. High Liner also takes care of the portioning — they are available in 1lb or 2lb vacuum-sealed bags. All you have to do is warm them up and add your own signature flair!
ACE BAKERY, an Artisan brand of Weston Foods
ACE Bakery was founded by two food lovers who decided the best way to get the bread they wanted was to bake it themselves. What started as a passionate hobby in Caledon, Ont. has become a world-class artisan bakery, with products supplied to grocery stores and restaurants across the country. The ACE Bakery portfolio has grown to include baguettes, sandwich rolls, burger buns and table breads, but the real secret to their success is continuing to bake breads the same way as when they first opened for business: Their breads take anywhere from 16-48 hours to make, use only simple, premium ingredients and decades-old, handcrafted starters for complex flavour, and are baked on stone decks for a crisp crust and uniform bake throughout. Restaurateurs can visit westonfoodservice.com to learn ways to elevate everyday moments from globally-acclaimed ACE Bakery Master Baker Marcus Mariathas.
Started by two Vancouver boys who just wanted to give city folk a taste of the country, Happy Planet has become a beloved, all-natural, national food and smoothie company. Proudly sourced from well-known and trusted Canadian farms, every Happy Planet product is carefully created right here in Canada with a promise of no added preservatives or artificial ingredients. Happy Planet is focusing on expanding partnerships with purpose-driven companies, such as Farafena, to ethically source highly nutritious and wild superfoods like Moringa (included in their number 1 selling Extreme Green smoothie). Happy Planet recently added another product to their lineup: Happy Planets. Made with just a handful of wholesome ingredients and no sugar added, these little guys promise to keep those 3 p.m. hunger pangs at bay! Whether with an extreme dose of superfoods or a simple healthy wholesome snack, Happy Planet has an array of tasty and nutritious products to keep your customers happy.
Did you know that the world is going crazy for oat milk? It is one of the fastest growing dairy-free milk alternatives — for good reason. Besides its creamy texture, natural sweetness (no added sugar here!), amazing nutritional value, and exceptional versatility in coffee and baking, it’s also an environmental superhero. Earth’s Own oat milk has everything consumers want. By only ever using Canadian oats grown by local Canadian farmers, Earth’s Own oat milk uses much less water to grow than dairy or almond milk (7x less in fact!). This is because the only thing needed to grow fields + fields of delicious oats is sunshine + rainwater. And, despite being free from dairy, soy, nuts, gluten + anything artificial, it is completely school safe. Nuts, eh?
Just like the visionary farmers who founded Organic Meadow as the first organic dairy in Canada, this brand does things a little unconventionally to provide Canadians with clean food choices that are the highest quality and taste true to nature. Their mission is to craft superior tasting organic dairy foods without shortcuts — and they’ve been doing that for more than 25 years. They offer a full line of premium organic products that are proudly made with 100% Canadian organic milk, including everything from fresh milk and cream to the highest quality organic butter, cheese and yogurt. The most recent addition to their lineup is their special “Reserve” Organic Grass Fed Butter. It’s made with the finest cream from grass fed cow’s milk and small batch churned at 84% milk fat for a luxurious texture that any discerning cook will fall in love with. Visit their website to learn more about all the delicious products they offer: www.organicmeadow.com