Thursday, February 26, 2009

Industry Event: BCFT 2009 Suppliers Night

The annual BCFT (British Columbia Food Technologist) Suppliers Night was held at the Coast Hotel and Convention Center in Langley, BC this year.

Although the weather detered some, the event was a success with a number of students, consultants, suppliers, processors, and industry representatives present.

I attended a free seminar put on my Kerry Flavours & Ingredients where they presented several of their products, and allowed us to sample yogurts that had stevia added to them. It was a good presentation, and since we were sponsored by Kerry, we were allowed admission into suppliers night free!

I bumped into many old friends and colleagues and it was good to see old faces, and meet newer ones as well. It was also reassuring to see some of the suppliers still working for the same companies. The Ajimoto (sp?) guy was still permatanned, and friendly staff at Bakers International were still offering delicious baked goodies and their infamous serrated knives.

The Langley Coast Hotel & Convention Center prepared a nice spread of fresh veggies, sandwiches, and hot and cold hors d'oevres. My personal favourites were the zucchini sticks, the roast beef, and the vegetables samosas. Yum!

Near the end of the night, Peter Taylor of Cantest Labs Ltd. represented BCFT and drew attendees names for door prizes.

My former classmate, Ganga, was fortunate enough to have her name drawn by Peter. She won a garlic press, offered by Sensient flavours for the draw.

Of course, last but not least, let us get down to the good stuff: swag!

Apparently, good things come in twos - where I liked a sample or company product, I managed to get two... like the squishy chef cows from Butterbuds! My sister loves cows, so I picked one up for her...and one for myself. :) Other things I picked up, clockwise from the cows:

- a sample bag of infused dehydrated blueberries from the US Highbush Blueberry Council
- The Virginia Dare representative offered me some vanilla extract when I hopefully asked for a bag to carry some pamphlets, so, of course I grabbed a couple.
- two sample packes of honey roasted sunflower kernels from the National Sunflower Council
- a International Bakers Services serrated knife - perfect for camping and general use! I have one in my kitchen and someone can pry it from my cold dead hands if they want it because seems to last a lifetime.
- Sonic Rocks from Caravan Ingredients
- a bottle-shaped pad of post-its, a pen and a bag from a flavour company I hadn't heard of before, Abelei. They specialize in fruit, citrus and other flavours for beverage, confectionary, and seasoning companies, and have a new wasabi flavour out. The guy was nice, but unfortunately he was a little lonely, with two empty supplier tables on either side of him.

The prize for the coolest swag goes to Caravan Ingredients for their Sonic Rocks. Honestly, M tossed them around for a good fifteen minutes before I could wrangle them away from him (all the while he was proclaiming them "his") for a photo. They are strong shiny magnets that are oblong but with rounded edges. When you throw them in the air at each other, they make a neat squealing / whirring / buzzing sound. If you didn't manage to grab a pair of these, tough luck. Seems I've lost mine to M!

The *tastiest* swag of the night goes to Kerry Ingredients for their delicious chocolate covered cheesecake pop! I wished I had adhered to my "good thing comes in twos" (or fours, or tens) with this one. It was silky, creamy, and fragrant tasting. Now I understand the allure of the cheesecake pop!

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