IMG 5958Standing, left to right: Andrea Parete, Andrew Cote, Alex Iasinskyi, Claude Carvalho. Kneeling, left to right: Barb Peters, Michael DiPierro, Ali Davies, Stacey Kravitz, Melinda Zoccoli, Deborah Viti.

UNFI Canada hosted its latest Innovation Conference and Showcase on June 15th in Vaughan, Ont. Marking the first in-person natural foods show in Ontario in over two years, the Innovation Conference and Showcase hosted 2000 attendees and over 150 exhibitors.

“We are simply elated! Innovation Conference was among the most energetic trade shows I have attended in a long while,” said Stacey Kravitz, president, UNFI Canada. “By promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, we have been reaffirmed [by all that] the future of food in Canada is in good hands!”

As part of the Innovation Conference and Showcase, UNFI Canada hosted its live “Pitch Slam” competition, during which five unique brands had just a few minutes to pitch themselves to a panel of experts for a chance to win a UNFI prize package.

nanashakeNanashake team reacts to being named UNFI's Pitch-Slam champion

This year's Pitch Slam champion, as chosen by show attendees was Nanashake—an original frozen dessert made exclusively from plant-based ingredients. Nanashake was awarded a $5,000 UNFI Canada marketing package, a $2,500 package from Pitch Slam sponsor Green Fresh Media, and a $500 donation the charity of their choice.

DSC00564The "Raising the Bar: Female Founders Fuel the Future" panel moderator, panelists and UNFI's Stacey Kravitz (far right)

This year’s keynote panel discussion featured some of the industry’s strongest and most successful women in leadership. Entitled “Raising the Bar: Female Founders Fuel the Future,” the panel was moderated by Suzie York of Love Good Fats.

Panelists shared their insight and experience on how they started and grew their businesses, as well as their thoughts on the future of food in Canada. Joining the discussion were Zoey Shamai from Tonica, Brittany Charlton from Ohh! Foods and Richa Gupta from Good Food For Good.

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