Conferences and Workshops

Conferences Covering Trends & Innovation

A network of experts with varied backgrounds joins SIAL Canada each year to provide you with the most essential food-related information: issues in the industry, innovation, trends and market opportunities, changes in purchasing behaviours. Everything you need to know to grow your business in North America.
One of the best ways to keep abreast of the latest developments in the food industry!

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the 2019 conferences.

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2019 Conferences

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May 2019

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  • English
  • 10:30 - 11:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Shelf Stable Probiotics & Gut Health [Panel]


Moderator: Jane Dummer
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationPatrick Lambert, Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASESCarol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

Digestive health spans all age groups across the consumer market. Emerging research on the relationship of digestive health to overall wellness has manufacturers innovating products to meet consumer’s interest in gut health. We hear a lot about how fermented foods and probiotics (good bacteria) can promote digestive and immune health. In the past few years, we have seen a number of new probiotic strains that are making additional shelf-stable applications possible and are starting to appear in granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars. Understand from the panelists what are the probiotic next generation and what is the future innovation with these bioactive ingredients.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Relevantly Speaking [Panel]


Moderator: Brian Hircock
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationB.K. Sethi, President B.K. Sethi Marketing Ltd Gail Gastelu, Owner/publisher of The Tea House Times and producer of Tea Course

As more food & beverage offerings with new brand-stories become available, how can they develop a meaningful and lasting relationship with consumers? Likewise, how can legacy-brands maintain their relevance to consumers and present product offerings that will get noticed and considered for purchase? The answer is in the question – This panel will discuss the importance of brand-stories – the all-important narrative that connects consumers to great food & beverage products.

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Simplicity Becomes Innovative [Panel]


Moderator: Gail Gastelu
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationBrian Hircock, President at Raining Communications Patrick Lambert, Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASES

Panel discussion of the newest, the latest, the leading edge innovations or novelties pertaining to tea for consumption and ease of preparation. What defines an innovative product, design, idea, or process? Is it the product itself? The packaging? The branding and marketing of the product? Or is it something clever, new, fresh, never seen before and innovative? Whether selling it or serving it, is there a formula for success when it comes to everyday products such as tea?

  • English
  • 10:30 - 11:30
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Snacking and Mini Meals Innovation [Panel]


Moderator: Jane Dummer
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationPatrick Lambert, Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASESCarol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

There is much innovation going on in the mini meals and snacking category. Consumers are moving away from popping open a bag of cookies or chips to tackle their cravings as small meal occasions increase throughout their day. Also consumers are replacing full size meals with snacks and mini-meals because they are “just too busy and always on the go”. This is creating a demand and trend for manufacturers to take snack ideas and elevated them to delicious, convenient yet nutritious options. Understand from the panelists why it’s important for these snack and mini-meal options to taste great, have all the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) found in a full meal and not just a typical carb load we typically associated with snacking. Also, why the single-serve packaging needs to be environmentally friendly.

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Look & Feel [Panel]


Moderator: Brian Hircock
Jean-Sébastien Michel, Owner of Alambika and Distribution JesemiGail Gastelu, Owner/publisher of The Tea House Times and producer of Tea CourseChristine Cheylan, Owner of Château Virant, Olive Oils

When people say they love the look & feel of any product, what do they mean? How can this love be optimized so that food brands can make even stronger connections with consumers? Look & Feel translates to brand aesthetic – a powerful and important aspect of any food product. This panel will discuss the strategies for a successful, ownable and disruptive Look & Feel.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Profitable, Prevailing Pairings [Panel]


Moderator: Gail Gastelu
Jean-Sébastien Michel, Owner of Alambika and Distribution JesemiChristine Cheylan, Owner of Château Virant, Olive Oils

Panel discussion on trending, foodie friendly, pairings for serious business, fun and for profit. Cheese and tea, wine and tea, cocktails with tea, foods paired with tea or as an ingredient, olive oil and tea in soap/beauty products, olive oil in your brewed cuppa; these are not peculiar but profitable and prevailing trends among foodies. Learn what works; differentiate quality ingredients and best pairings for fixed menu items, unique products, or special event promotions.

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Adapting Your Innovation Strategy to the E-commerce Reality [Panel]


Moderator: Patrick Lambert
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationBrian Hircock, President at Raining Communications

This panel discusses the myths related to the impact of e-commerce on the innovation process. Do you need a separate strategy for online? Is there such a thing as an "infinite shelf"? Can you use e-commerce to optimize your product?

  • English
  • 10:30 - 11:30
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Brand Memories & the Lessons There From [Panel]


Moderator: Brian Hircock
Carol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

They say that to find something new, it’s best to look in an old book. This panel discusses some historical brand-landmarks that help to inform our thinking of today and give us insight into effective food branding. A Don Watt said in one of his last public engagements – “We’ve been here before, it’s what we do with that knowledge that will help us today."

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

When Beverages are Mainstream and Ethnic Combined [Panel]


Moderator: Gail Gastelu
B.K. Sethi, President B.K. Sethi Marketing Ltd Brian Hircock, President at Raining Communications

Panel discussion on creating a market around a product with positive attributes and strong heritage / cultural stories to tell. When considering products from other nations, are you doing so to serve a niche or ethnic market, or might you consider some products to be more mainstream, worldly, interesting and trendy? Tea is a product that comes from many different nations and is enjoyed differently across cultures. Tea tells a story like no other product. It may be marketed uniquely to certain ethnic groups but should be considered more mainstream, multi-cultural, basic and luxury all at the same time.

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Plant-based Eating from Soil to Shelf [Panel]


Moderator: Jane Dummer
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationPatrick Lambert, Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASESFranco Naccarato, Program Manager at the Greenbelt Fund

More people are exploring plant-based options. Consumers are becoming adventurous with their palates and are trying savoury umami flavours from plant-based ingredients like mushrooms and seaweed. In 2018 we observed plant-based alternatives to the typical meat-based snacking world of jerky and rinds. Aloe beverages have gone mainstream, so expect to see more plant-based drink innovations in 2019. I’m predicting more “raw” plant-based products for active consumers and overall snacking occasions. Soil health and regenerative agriculture initiatives continue to be in the forefront of the plant-based dietary pattern. Sustainability programs continue to be part of this sector with consumers embracing sustainable sourcing, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. Currently most plant-based foods and beverages are enjoying a healthy halo when the shopper thinks sustainability. Understand from the panelists all the factors driving this trend and why it’s important not to assume all plant-based products are healthy, plus the relevance of eco-friendly agriculture practices with this trend.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

Buzz Words, Compliance and Regulations for Tea [Panel]


Moderator: Gail Gastelu
Jane Dummer, Principal and founder, Jane Dummer ConsultingCarol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label ComplianceBob Bauer, President Association of Food Industries

Panel discussion on what you should know about handling, serving, or selling tea. As a healthy beverage, tea is a product which is constantly on the radar of anyone who cares about making healthy choices for their daily food and beverage consumption. Other than the usual buzz words, like organic and fair trade, what do you need to consider ensuring compliance in not just labeling, but in tea handling as well? And, how does FSMA (United States’ Food Safety Modernization Act) come in to play for tea?

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:00
  • Central Expert Hub #1065

The Untapped Potential of Private Label in Canada [Panel]


Moderator: Patrick Lambert
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn InnovationBrian Hircock, President at Raining Communications

This panel discusses the current and potential future role of private label in the evolving food industry.

  • English
  • 9:30 - 10:15
  • Presentation Room / MAIN STAGE

Farm of the Future, The New Soil

20$
Timothy Kennedy, Executive Director at Canadian Aquaculture

Farm. When you see this word, what do you think of? Cows, horses, chickens? White fences, green fields… Imagine a farm where there is there is almost no carbon production, some of the crops feed themselves, it generates thousands of jobs in many Canadian communities with no economic opportunities, it is blue… This presentation will explore aquaculture - the farming of fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. Topics will cover the role of aquaculture in addressing the increasing global demand for seafood and the impact of Canadian seafood farming. The presentation will also address the myths surrounding farmed fish with answers to common consumer questions about farm practices and sustainability.

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:15
  • SALON 108

Meal Kits & Sustainability

20$
Carol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

Consumer demand for convenient, fresh, healthy meal kits has resulted in growth of this industry sector. Delivery of safe and quality ingredients requires appropriate packaging. Under scrutiny for contributing to the packaging waste issue, the meal kit producers have responded with initiatives to decrease the environmental impact by reducing the amount of packaging or developing more sustainable packaging.

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:15
  • Presentation Room

Move Over Millennials, Gen Z is Here – Markerting To a New Generation

20$
Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, Nourish Food Marketing

Have you finally figured out how to reach millennials? Guess what - there’s another group waiting to take over. Generation Z is the single largest cohort in Canada, and within a few years, they’ll account for 33% of the population. Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, will get you up to speed on this emerging demographic, the first true digital natives in our society, and how you can reach them where they live.

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:15
  • SALON 108

FSMA Red Flags: Common Mistakes at the Border

20$
Bob Bauer, President Association of Food Industries

Through FSMA, FDA has ramped up its inspections of food facilities in other countries, including Canada. Find out the most-cited problems in FDA inspections and learn what your U.S. importers need to have from you to pass their inspections.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:15
  • SALON 108

Artificial Intelligence: Real Impact

20$
Andreas Duess, Partner and Creative Director at Nourish Food Marketing, Nourish Food Marketing

With the rise of AI (in a non-Terminator way) and the mainstreaming of Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices, it’s no longer enough to just be mobile-friendly; you have to be voice search-friendly, too. Andreas Duess, Chief Creative Officer at Nourish Food Marketing leads a discussion and demonstration on how voice-tech is transforming the way we interact with food, and how to get your product name on consumers’ lips - and Search Engine rankings.

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:15
  • SALON 108

A Brand Story – Maximizing the Marketing Potential of Food Packages

20$
Sabrina Falone, Food Writer, Chef and Culinary Consultant

We all know a picture is worth 1000 words but how do you make sure they’re the right words? By strategically utilizing the images on your packaging, to not just highlight the product inside but to also tell your brand’s story, you can touch consumers on at higher level. The setting, colours, textures, layers, lighting and styling of the food in an image all play a role in representing your brand. Today’s consumers often make their buying decisions because a brand’s story aligns with their own personal values. Get an insider’s expertise on how to best style, prop and stage your food product in it’s packaging images to tell a meaningful brand story that will resonate with consumers and help your product make the leap from shelf to cart.

  • English
  • 3:30 - 4:15
  • Presentation Room

Tea as a Speciality, Profitable, and Innovative Beverage – Panel

20$
Moderator: Gail Gastelu
Lisa Mac Innis, Director of Product Development at Sensio Inc., Sensio Inc.Birendra Perera, Marketing Director at Mlesna Group, Mlesna GroupShabnam Weber, President at Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, Tea and Herbal Association of Canada

Panel discussion featuring a famous/professional tea taster all the way from Sri Lanka (home to Ceylon tea) and tea industry pros who are accustomed to purchasing, serving, selling, and marketing tea and related products to all types of businesses. Discussion will include how to distinguish quality and consistency through taste and use of different grades of tea. Learn what distinguishes worldwide regional specialties in tea. Learn best practices in using tea as a profit center crossing over from a dessert beverage into cocktails, food pairings, and enticing today’s “foodies” to enjoy something healthier, tastier, and more trending or innovative than other beverages while you enjoy a better profit margin.

  • English
  • 3:30 - 4:15
  • SALON 108

Social Media Marketing Content to Delight the Senses

20$
Sabrina Falone, Food Writer, Chef and Culinary Consultant

A solid social media strategy is key in today’s market but even great content can get lost in all the white noise. The content possibilities truly are endless so it’s key to create quality assets that offer value. Audiences appreciate brands that provide value through education, entertainment and/or inspiration but you need to get consumers stop scrolling. The best approach to grabbing people’s attention on social media is to appeal to as many of the senses as possible. In 2019 brands are striving to create content that will not only appeal to our sense of sight and sound but also to taste, feel and smell. We have not invented smell-o-vision but by integrating some creative elements into traditional content you can stimulate multiple senses and truly captivate consumers. Sabrina will share insights in how to create uniquely stimulating content as well as fundamental tips for creating successful marketing content.

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:15
  • Presentation Room

Future Food Focus

20$
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn Innovation

AI. Blockchain. Cellular Agriculture. Virtual reality. We’ve all heard the buzzwords, but how will these and other emerging technologies transform the food system and shape trends in 2020 and beyond? This highly visual presentation showcases early adopters who are experimenting with new technology in real world settings as well as concepts still in the research and development stage that are expected to have disruptive effects. Learn how robotics, machine learning and digital tools are changing how we grow, engineer, harvest, shop, prepare and consume food. Take this opportunity to shift your focus to the future!

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:15
  • Presentation Room

Brand Magic

20$
Brian Hircock, President at Raining Communications

During this presentation Brian will discuss an actionable methodology for the optimization of your branding efforts, and who knows… there may even be a little magic.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:15
  • Presentation Room

Think Big – Doing Business in Canada

20$
Michel Boucher, Vice President, Industry Engagement at GS1 Canada, GS1 CanadaMelanie Barlow, Senior Manager, Industry Engagement at GS1 Canada, GS1 Canada

No matter the size of your business or where you are based, the Canadian market offers unique opportunities as a manufacturer in the grocery and foodservice sector - but it’s not without its challenges. If you’ve ever wondered what Canadian trading partners are looking for or wanted to get tips on growing your business while improving efficiencies, you are not alone. GS1 Canada will answer these questions and more by drawing on real-world experiences and presenting an up-to-date view of the Canadian grocery and foodservice landscape. You will learn how to think big to help your business succeed now and in the future.

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:15
  • Presentation Room

The Evolution of Nutritional Labels – Building Trust and Transparency

20$
Daniel Clark, Senior Manager, Standards, GS1 Canada

We now live in an era of information explosion, where consumers are demanding to know more about what is in the food they are purchasing and where it comes from. Health Canada initiatives, including sodium reduction initiatives across the Canadian food supply and the Healthy Eating Strategy, will benefit from up-to-date data to support actions. In this joint presentation, GS1 Canada and Health Canada will provide insights into building consumer trust through traceability, transparency and recall processes, and you will learn. Presenters will also touch on how initiatives on reformulation, food waste, safety and recall can benefit your business and consumers.

  • English
  • 10:30 - 11:15
  • SALON 108

What Every Start-Ups Needs to Know: Product & Process Development

20$
Karen McEachern, Technical Manager, Product and Process Innovation, NSF International

Do you have a new product concept that needs development, or perhaps your current product could be formulated to improve the nutritional profile, extend shelf life, optimize cost or have a clean ingredient label? Product and process development go hand in hand and it is critical to understand how they play an important role in the overall success of your product. NSF will share with you the important aspects to consider when bringing your new product concept to commercial reality.

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:15
  • Presentation Room

Tips and Tools for Launching Successful Local Products into New Markets – Workshop

20$
Dana McCauley, CEO, Blue Unicorn Innovation

Expanding distribution is an important goal for many successful local brands; however, moving successfully from ‘home town hero’ to ‘new kid on the block’ requires new strategies. This workshop will share tips and tools for creating a winning brand expansion plan. Participants will leave with insights into how to use competitive analysis to refresh and rearticulate their brand’s value proposition and unique selling points so that breaking into new markets is as frictionless as possible.

  • English
  • 11:30 - 12:15
  • SALON 108

What Every Start-Ups Needs to Know: Food Safety

20$
Alan Grant

The fastest way to fail with your food start up is to miss out on key food safety ‘must haves’. Are you planning to ship products outside the province? Then you need to know about Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations. Are you planning to have your products listed at a major retailer? Then you need to know about GFSI. Do you plan to avoid having recalls (ever)? Then you need to know about FSQM (Food Safety and Quality Management) systems. If any of the terms used in this abstract are new to you, then you also need to attend this business-critical presentation. This presentation will take you through the key things you need to know so that food safety never becomes a four-letter work and will offer practical tips to make your food safety journey simple and practical.

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:15
  • Presentation Room

The Role of Consumer Research in Agile Innovation

20$
Patrick Lambert, Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASES

84% Of Fast-moving consumer goods professionals say they feel more pressure to bring products to market faster today than they did five to ten years ago. But cutting corners risks the viability of your new product. In this presentation, you will learn about the common misconceptions of "agile" in the FMCG industry, the true meaning of "agile" and how to successfully adapt it to food, and how you can leverage consumer research and predictive analytics to incorporate more agility in your new product development process. 

  • English
  • 12:30 - 1:15
  • SALON 108

What Every Start-Ups Needs to Know: Packaging

20$
Carol Zweep, Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

Packaging is a key influence in your product’s market performance. Appropriate packaging maintains your product’s quality and if well designed, can entice customers to purchase your product. Hear how you can make appropriate packaging choices or select techniques that will maintain or increase your product’s shelf life.

  • English
  • 2:30 - 3:15
  • SALON 108

What Every Start-Ups Needs to Know: Food & Label Compliance

20$
Erin Taraborrelli, Supervisor, Food and Label Compliance, NSF International

Are you creating a new food product and want to ensure the label is compliant? Learn about our new Canadian nutrition and ingredient labelling regulations, including the new Nutrition Facts Table format, ingredient list changes, and allergen declarations, as well as common claims and the criteria to make these. Understand the resources that are available to you to ensure your Canadian labels are compliant.

  • English
  • 1:30 - 2:15
  • Presentation Room

Innovation & Opportunity at the Intersection of Cannabis and Food

20$
Adam Miron, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer HEXO, HEXO

With Cannabis legalization gaining momentum worldwide and innovation within the industry continuing at warp speed, new areas of opportunity are opening up for different industries, creating exciting new market segments virtually overnight. This landscape of innovation is providing the opportunity for food companies to explore the various benefits of using cannabinoids from the Cannabis plant in their products. But where do you start?

  • English
  • 10:30 - 11:15
  • SALON 108

Incoterms 2010: Negotiating a Competitive Advantage [Workshop]

20$
Ruth Snowden, Executive Director at Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, CIFFA

Join self-professed Incoterms nerd and expert facilitator Ruth Snowden for a one-hour introductory training workshop on Incoterms® 2010.  At the end of this interactive session Buyers and Sellers will return to the workplace: - Understanding how international traders use Incoterms® 2010 as part of an overall negotiation - Able to identify appropriate Incoterms® 2010 for the movement of their goods - Prepared to put their new found knowledge to practical application

2019 Speakers

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Brian Hircock

President at Raining Communications

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Gail Gastelu

Owner/publisher of The Tea House Times and producer of Tea Course

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Dana McCauley

CEO, Blue Unicorn Innovation

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Solange Ackril

Vice President Marketing & Corporate Strategy - Club Coffee LP

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Dr. Sylvain Charlebois

Dean, Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University

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Paul Yus

Founder of FMG Consulting Inc.

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Jo-Ann McArthur

President of Nourish Food Marketing

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Andreas Duess

Partner and Creative Director at Nourish Food Marketing

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Salima Jivraj

Managing Director of Multicultural at Nourish Food Marketing

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Carol Zweep

Manager of Packaging, Food & Label Compliance

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Alan Grant

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Bob Bauer

President Association of Food Industries

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Ruth Snowden

Executive Director at Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association

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Michel Boucher

Vice President, Industry Engagement at GS1 Canada

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Melanie Barlow

Senior Manager, Industry Engagement at GS1 Canada

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Daniel Clark

Senior Manager, Standards, GS1 Canada

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Patrick Lambert

Innovation Business Partner / Nielsen BASES

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Adam Miron

Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer HEXO

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Kyle McKinley

Vice-President, Design Solutions at Nielsen

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Lisa Mac Innis

Director of Product Development at Sensio Inc.

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Birendra Perera

Marketing Director at Mlesna Group

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Shabnam Weber

President at Tea and Herbal Association of Canada

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Dushan Batrovic

Tech Focused CFO

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Karen McEachern

Technical Manager, Product and Process Innovation

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Rob Sraka

Creative Director

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Stephen Dean

Senior Publisher at Canadian Packaging

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Diane J. Brisebois

President and CEO of Retail Council of Canada (RCC)

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Marc Fortin

President & CEO at RCC-Quebec

CONTACT US

Magalie Moreau

Marketing and Communication Director
SIAL Canada

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