Event Review: Energy, Functional & New Age Beverages: Going to Market in Canada

Energy, Functional & New Age Beverages: Going to Market in Canada Annual: N/A Date: September 25-26, 2002 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Comparison to previous year: (same, more, less) N/A Attendance for: Seminars 40-50, seminars well attended and well presented


Most presenters were exceptional, particularly Peter Van Stolk, CEO & President of Jones Soda. Other well received presenters included Kelley Fitzpatrick, President of the Saskatchewan Nutracuetical Network and Rob Kowal, General Manager of Wild Flavors (Canada), Inc.

Mr. Van Stolk spoke about his company's origins, philosophy and attitude, Ms. Fitzpatrick dealt with the Canadian regulatory environment, issues and challenges in the face of changing regulations, and Mr. Kowal spoke about the product development and production process in a fast to market cycle.

Attendee feedback:
Attendees were impressed by the current issues dealt with by some presenters. Other presenters were unable to respond to questions from the floor, being either non-technical or non-business. This included the presentation from Nico Water and from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

While some of the information was topical and of good quality for those either entering or already particpating in the sector, other information was pure marketing.

Seminar attendees included representation from Pepsi, Coca-cola, Cadbury, Muscletech, Cott, Ocean Spray.

Hot and new products/services: (Partial List)

Leading Brands--Trek Beverage- innovative package

Swedish Beverages, Inc.--Magic Recovery-excellent flavor profile and innovative marketing program

Conference Organization and Management:
Good. More involvement to ensure that conference objectives were addressed and that there was cohesion to the conference would have helped. Media coverage (television and newspaper) was excellent. Schedule revisions not well communicated, with a few presenters not attending.

Improvements suggested and overall comments:
A very expensive conference, and questionable overall ROI for attendees. Higher level government participation, possibly even at decision making level, to hear industry views and business reality would have been worthwhile and possibly made the event more successful.

Number of Presentations: 11

Key Issues:
What is the future in Canada? Will Canada remain without serious new-age beverages due to prohibitive regulatory environment? From government presentations, this appeared to be the case, although new Natural Health Product regulations may present opportunities that presently don't exist. Likely the 'food' route will not create new opportunities and significant growth in the short term, other than that created by innovative marketing and packaging or, as is the case with Jones soda, an attitude and appeal to a niche.

Speaker Feedback:
Speakers pleased with interest of attendees, and certainly the major players in the secotr were represented in the audience.

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