Niagara College’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre had a strong presence at the food start-up pitch competition at SIAL Canada’s largest North American food event on May 1 in Toronto.
CFWI IC Centre Manager Lyndon Ashton acted as the master of ceremonies for the “Food Scale-Up Pitch” event and Senior Food Scientist, Dr. Ana Cristina Vega Lugo, served as a judge for the 14 semi-finalists, joining other industry leaders, investors, media, retailers and technical advisors, and other entrepreneurs from the food industry.
The Food Scale-Up’s Pitch Competition, by SIAL Canada, a leading name in the agri-food industry, offered eligible food entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their food product, or new technology related to the food manufacturing industry, to an expert jury. Food start-ups also received access to industry experts on business development, PR, branding, consumer trends and more.
First place prize was given to Maple Bee Nectar and received a booth at SIAL Canada 2020; Culcherd receives a 20-hr consultation with experts from CFWI Innovation Centre and two companies tied for third prize: Sachili and La Dee Da Gourmet Sauces, each earning 10-hours each with CFWI IC.
“We just saw one of the participants today who won second prize, and they said that after the pitch competition, the business just sparked, and went from 500 units per month to 600 units per week,” says Vega Lugo. “The excitement of the participants while doing their pitch was a magnet for investors and others at SIAL, the largest North American food event.”