Canada and the US may share the world’s longest border, but when it comes to snacks, significant differences emerge. While global brands dominate shelves on both sides, Canada boasts unique treats unavailable in its southern neighbor.
For Canadians vacationing or moving to the US, cravings for hometown snacks can be intense. This guide will explore beloved Canadian snacks that Americans may never have heard of or tasted. We’ll also uncover where displaced Canucks can find authentic Canadian treats on US soil to get their fix.
The Vibrant World of Canadian Snack Foods
Canadians love snacking just like their American cousins. A whopping 80.4% of Canadians snack daily, with a staggering 96.4% among children aged 2-5 years. These figures have risen substantially over time, mirroring global trends.
While bestselling chocolate bars like KitKat and Coffee Crisp originated across the pond, Canada has adopted and adapted them as their own. However, the true allure lies in indigenous treats crafted for the Canadian palate. Brands like President’s Choice, Hostess, and Cadbury Canada have become icons of Canuck snacking culture.
Exploring international munchies is often made fascinating by these differences, despite the fact that they exist. Let’s explore the top-tier Canadian snacks that American snackers have yet to find.
Where to Find Canadian Snacks in the US
Canadians traveling or living in America need not go snackless. Here are some options to find authentic tastes of home:
- Online Stores: Sites like Canadian snack Traders and My American Market ship coast-to-coast.
- Specialty Grocery Stores: Retailers like Rocket Fizz carry hard-to-find Canadian candies and chips.
- Amazon and eBay: Even the online giant stocks Canadian goodies through third-party sellers.
- Border Towns: Cross-border supermarket chains like IGA offer Canadian products.
- Airports: Duty-free shops in major American airports sell iconic Canadian snacks.
- Care Packages: Call on family and friends to ship crates of your favorite snacks across the border.
The Evolution of Snack Consumption
Looking south of the border, American adults have seen their snacking habits change dramatically over the years. From 1977 to 2003–2006, the prevalence of snack consumption over a 2-day period surged from 71% to 97%. Not only are more people snacking, but they’re also doing it more frequently, with the number of snacks consumed daily jumping from 1.26 to 2.23.
These numbers paint a vivid picture of how snacking has transformed over the decades. But what does the modern snacking landscape look like today, especially in Canada?
Modern Snacking Trends
In today’s Canada, snacking isn’t just an occasional treat; it’s a significant contributor to our daily energy intake, accounting for nearly 23%.
Interestingly, younger children seem to derive the most energy from snacks at 27%, while older adults are at 20.8%. And if you’ve ever felt that mid-afternoon hunger pang, you’re not alone. A substantial 36.3% of snack consumption happens between 15:00 p.m. and 20:00 p.m.
While these trends offer a fascinating glimpse into our snacking habits, it’s essential to understand the broader implications. How does this frequent snacking impact our health?
Health Implications of Snacking
The world of snacking is vast and varied. Some studies have raised eyebrows, suggesting a link between frequent snacking and chronic health conditions, especially overweight and obesity. However, it’s not all gloomy.
Snacking on healthy foods like whole fruits and vegetables can actually enhance our overall diet quality without affecting our weight. And here’s food for thought: skipping that afternoon snack might be doing more harm than good, with some reports indicating a higher risk of poor cardiovascular health.
Why Aren’t These Snacks Sold in America?
There are several reasons why Canadian favorites are confined within our borders:
- Brand Competition: Blockbuster US brands dominate shelf space, edging out Canadian entries.
- Market Size: Canada’s smaller population makes mass distribution economics difficult.
- Taste Preferences: Palate differences lead companies to tailor snacks to each country.
- Regulatory Hurdles: Canada permits some ingredients prohibited in the US, like Kinder toys.
However, the Internet has enabled lovers of Canadian snacks to order online, bypassing traditional retail hurdles. Specialty food stores also enrich the American snack arena.
Exclusive Canadian Treats Unavailable in the US
From chocolate to chips, here are some iconic Canadian snacks you won’t find south of the border:
- Smarties: The candy-coated chocolates that Americans recognize as Rockets.
- Caramilk: A Cadbury Canada creation, sweeter and chewier than its American counterpart, Caramello.
- Crunchie: A toffee-flavored, honeycomb-centered chocolate bar missing from the US market.
- Kinder Surprise: The iconic chocolate egg with embedded toys, is now banned in the US.
- Kraft Peanut Butter: A Canadian favorite not available in the US.
- President’s Choice: A range of ice creams and chips exclusive to Canada.
- Aero: Once available in the US during the ’80s, now a Canadian exclusive.
- Hickory Sticks: A long-standing favorite produced by Hostess Potato Chips.
- Coffee Crisp: An independent Canadian product now under Nestle Canada.
- Montreal-Style Bagels: Smaller, sweeter, and denser than any other bagel.
- KitKat: Produced by different companies in Canada and the US, with a taste debate on which is better.
- Hawkins Cheezies: A post-World War II invention still popular in Canada.
- Swiss Chalet Sauce: An epic dipping sauce missing from American Swiss Chalet restaurants.
- BeaverTails: Hand-stretched pastries with various toppings, a Canadian specialty.
- Ruffles All-Dressed Chips: A combination of all delicious chip flavors.
- Poutine: Canada’s national pride, a combination of fries, cheese, and gravy.
This list highlights the diversity of quintessentially Canadian treats not found in American stores. Their unique flavors and textures are embedded in Canada’s culinary identity.
Here are some of the travel tips:
- Join Canadian expat Facebook groups to discover where to find beloved snacks locally.
- Pack an empty suitcase to stock up on Canadian snacks before your return.
- Esim USA allows travelers to stay connected seamlessly during their journey, ensuring they can navigate places effectively and enjoy uninterrupted internet connectivity.
- When cravings hit, try making homemade versions of snacks like poutine, BeaverTails, and bagels.
- At airports, keep an eye out for duty-free shops selling Canadian chocolate bars.
- Seek out specialty candy stores, especially in border towns, carrying imports.
Why Some Canadian Snacks Haven’t Made It to the US
The absence of these Canadian snacks in America comes down to a few key factors:
- Brand Competition: Snacks like Coffee Crisp and Smarties directly compete with famous American brands like Hershey’s and M&M’s. Breaking into the US market poses a challenge.
- Cultural Preferences: Canadian and American tastes differ, influencing which snacks succeed. The sweet earthiness of a Montreal bagel may not align with American expectations.
- Regulations: Kinder Surprise eggs are banned in the US for safety concerns around embedding non-food objects in confections.
While demand for Canadian snacks exists in the US, overcoming these barriers takes tremendous investment and effort. For many cherished Canadian snacks, the prospect of entering America remains elusive.
Trying Canadian Snacks in the US
Craving that taste of home while stateside? Here are some options:
- Check specialty import stores, especially in border towns, for treats like Coffee Crisp, Smarties, and Hickory Sticks.
- Order online from services like Canadasnacks.com which ship authentic Canadian goodies across the US.
- For fresh Montreal-style bagels, visit authentic bakeries like St-Viateur Bagel in NYC.
- If visiting Canada, stock up on all the snacks your heart desires to take back as edible souvenirs.
Sharing these unique Canadian flavors with American friends can spark joy and cultural exchange through the universal language of food.
Canadian Snacks You Can’t Get in America
Some top Canadian snacks not in the US include Smarties, Caramilk, Crunchie, Kinder Surprise, Kraft Peanut Butter, President’s Choice, Aero, Hickory Sticks, Coffee Crisp, Montreal-Style Bagels, Swiss Chalet Sauce, Hawkins Cheezies, All-Dressed Ruffles, BeaverTails Pastries, and Poutine – a diverse taste of Canada. Share them with your American friends!
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Canadian snacks different from those in America?
Unique Canadian snacks often have distinct ingredients, branding, and nostalgic associations giving them an identity of their own.
Where can I find Kinder Surprise eggs despite the US ban?
Cross-border airports and duty-free shops sell Kinder eggs. You can also order online, but the legality is questionable.
What are the most sought-after Canadian snacks in the US?
Beloved treats like Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Ketchup Chips, Caramilk, and Aero top the list for homesick Canadians.
Satisfy Your Cravings for Canadian Snacks
Despite constraints, resourceful Canadians have found ways to transport the tastes of home to America. Online stores and specialty grocers enable expats to enjoy nostalgic, only-in-Canada snacks from childhood when cravings strike.
With the right know-how, Canadians can snack like locals while celebrating the uniqueness of treats from north of the border. What Canadian snacks do you miss the most in the US? Let us know and we’ll share where to find them! We love helping fellow Canadians get their snacking fix.