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July 5, 2013

Spicy foods poised for growth as global demand rises

The global popularity of spicy foods, combined with the trend towards ethnic foods in the US, makes products like Tabasco pepper sauce poised for growth. With global population growing, particularly in India and China, food companies are in demand by buyers.

Spots of activity are happening across the ethnic food industry in Canada, which is highly fragmented, with a wide scattering of companies making revenues from $10-million to $100-million. These owners are often running lifestyle businesses and they serve a niche market, such as tropical fruit drinks and spicy snacks for Asian customers.

The range of consumers clamouring for exotic tastes such as coconut water or tandoori-barbeque flavoured chips is expanding. Big companies, including Pepsi and Loblaws, are private-label innovating in this segment. Owners of ethnic food companies are finding their products moving from the back shelves to front-and-centre at the big-box retailers and gas stations to catch the consumer eye.

There are few large ethnic food players in Canada to keep a good balance of power with the corporate retailers and wholesalers who have been consolidating. The opportunity is ripe for a large company to roll-up the smaller ones and create a significant ethnic food business.

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Jacoline Loewen is a director at Crosbiewhich focuses on succession advice for family businesses and closely held small to medium-sized enterprises. Crosbie develops customized strategies, particularly in relation to M&A, financing and corporate strategy matters. Ms. Loewen is also the author of Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business. You can follow her on Twitter @jacolineloewen.
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