Category Archives: Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre

Scientist turned brewmaster helps shape beer culture

Niagara College professor and notable brewmaster Adrian Popowycz is a true believer in the esprit de corps that binds the craft brewing industry. His is an enthusiasm for camaraderie he received at the beginning of his brewing career some 15 years ago.

Likewise, he has worked tirelessly to foster knowledge among the collaborative culture, with a strong regard for the quality of the brew in order to support the craft industry as a whole.

“All ships rise with the tide… while it’s cliché, it’s true,” says Popowycz. “If we don’t all try to make the best beers that we can, the wind can get taken out of the sails (and sales) really easily.”

As a scientist (he has a BSc in chemistry and a MSc in organic chemistry), the technical attributes central in producing a consistently quality product are his mastery. And it’s these standards of excellence that he imparts to his students in NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program.

“I always joke with the students that everyone can make a great beer once; to do it consistently is another thing.”

The multi-award-winning brewer was one of the College brewing program’s earliest champions, serving as the inaugural chair of the NC’s Professional Advisory Committee (PAC). He was also one of the first chairs of the Technical Committee for the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), an organization that represents more than 100 small, independent, and traditional brewers in the province.

While working as a brewmaster in the Ontario craft industry, Popowycz was instrumental in advocating for quality and technical issues prior to arriving at the College in 2017 when he accepted a faculty position.

He has also played an important role in increasing brewing quality as a research lead with the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, part of the award-winning Research & Innovation division at NC.

To this day, Popowycz remembers the taste of his first beer, some four decades ago. The crispness of the malts, subtle fruitiness of esters, bitter finish and a clean aftertaste that left him wanting another sip.

“I got to the point where I started to re-evaluate what I really wanted to do.”

Everything about the brew captivated both his scientific and creative sides. He just knew he wanted to be part of that world. But, alas, there was no path – or craft beer industry – to that world at the time. With a head for science and palate for hops, he experimented with home brewing.

Popowycz then followed a chemical science path, a career that would take him far from beer.

Meanwhile, during his years at the University of Montreal during the late 1980s and early ’90s, some great early microbreweries had hit the scene, he remembers. Yet he stayed committed to his path in chemistry and, ultimately, a lucrative and interesting career in the biotechnology field.

After graduating, and with a thesis in what he describes as “glow in the dark Mr. Bubble,” Popowycz ended up at the California headquarters of a billion-dollar pioneer biotechnology company. At the time, it was the world’s leading manufacturer of instruments used to analyze DNA, and even supplied a sequencing machine used by the Human Genome Project (the global project to map all the genes in the entire human DNA genome).

Armed with his chemistry training, he was delivering highly technical presentations to other scientists and prospective clients of the biotechnology instrumentation. He was even tapped to give a talk at Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) to a group of rocket scientists who were looking at equipment from different instrumentation companies to help detect life on the planet Mars.

“It was all very humbling,” he recalls. “These are the same people talking on behalf of NASA on the Discovery Channel!.”

He rose rapidly through company ranks, in sales, busting quotas with record numbers.

Still, he moved to a few other small biotechnology companies, where he amassed experience with business development and management. All the while, Popowycz found himself immersed in the burgeoning beer scene in SoCal (Southern California).

“There was so much good craft beer going on, so I was enjoying some good beer, and visiting breweries,” he says, adding that the bug from his youth was pulling at him.

“I got to the point where I started to re-evaluate what I really wanted to do.”

And so, at 40 years old, he packed up and left the beach for Berlin, Germany and home to one of the world’s oldest and best beer schools. The renowned Versuchs- und Lehranstalt für Brauerei in Berlin (VLB), translated means “research and teaching institute for breweries,” was founded in 1883.

The school’s Technical University Berlin (TUB) offered an accelerated one-year certified brewmaster program, in English.

While he roomed in a frat house, Popowycz took his beer education very seriously. And it’s an experience there he describes as “the best year” of his life.

Albeit modest about graduating with the highest marks of any class at the time, he describes his fortune as having the opportunity to study under the renowned professor, the late Karl Wackerbauer, PhD.

 “He was one of those key people in brewing science and education,” he says. “I used to joke that he has probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know.”

Even now, Popowycz remains one of only a handful of VLB graduates in Ontario.

“We’re having an impact on brewing culture at the College. So we have to help shape that culture.”

It was also at VLB that he says shaped his principles surrounding the camaraderie that exists in the industry. Brewers will always help other brewers.

He took this maxim with him as he made a respected name for himself in Ontario’s craft beer industry. He arrived in 2004 to Toronto’s Black Oak Brewing as brewmaster and was involved in many beer “firsts.”

After a stint with Great Lakes Brewing, Popowycz served as brewmaster and director of operations for Cool Beer Brewing before heading to Niagara College.

While he’s also a coordinator of NC’s brewing program, Popowycz teaches many of the technical and management courses on the roster.

“It’s what’s fun for me in terms of bringing in a lot of that stuff you can’t learn from the books – the real-life experience that hopefully, you can transmit,” he says.

“We’re having an impact on brewing culture at the College. So we have to help shape that culture,” he says, adding that this culture of cohesion only makes sense because it helps the entire industry grow.

While he has worked in the relatively small industry of craft beer (with approximately 300 breweries in the province), Popowycz is quick to point out he is not biased towards a brewery’s size.

“It doesn’t matter what size you are; we’re brewers… I’m brewery focused,” he explains. “To me, it’s all brewing, whether large-scale or not. I’ve never looked at it differently.”

In his work with the Research & Innovation division, Popowycz brings his technical insight to each project. Last year he was able to consult on a large-scale project – managed by Kelly Byer, lab technologist at the CFWI Innovation Centre – that saw a review of 1,000 craft beers for quality and consistency for some 50 members of the OCB.

“It doesn’t matter what size you are; we’re brewers… I’m brewery focused,” he explains. “To me, it’s all brewing, whether large-scale or not. I’ve never looked at it differently.”

The analysis was presented by Byer at the OCB annual conference, in a report called “The Ontario Craft Beer Quality Review,” to serve as a model to the industry.

Given his role as chair of the OCB’s Technical Committee, Popowycz was able to act as an ambassador and liaison between the College and the brewers’ association.

As a cornerstone, he always stresses the significance of quality in the industry, especially as the industry, with advances in technology, continues to evolve.

“In some ways, it’s really different now than it was before, it was more cowboy at the time – Wild West,” he explains. “There’s still a lot of that creativity going around, but because it’s grown so much, the expectations – from consumers and even government – of quality and the importance of documentation and good manufacturing practices are even more critical.”

 “I like that these projects are practical…it’s not an ephemeral exercise,” he says. “I also like that the intellectual property flows back to the customer. That’s a big deal from having been from organizations that value IP… to me, it’s really important.”

The framework for the projects within Research & Innovation, he says, offers students valuable experience to understand these quality standards, while also working with real deadlines and dealing directly with industry partners.

 “I like that these projects are practical…it’s not an ephemeral exercise,” he says. “I also like that the intellectual property flows back to the customer. That’s a big deal from having been from organizations that value IP… to me, it’s really important.”

Currently, he’s putting his technical prowess to the test during an applied research project, managed by the CFWI Innovation Centre, to develop a gluten-free beer for an industry partner.

“There are very few gluten-free beers around, so it’s extremely exciting,” he says. “But it’s also a big challenge because fundamentally, a lot of your options for making this don’t work as well as barley.”

“It takes a particular mindset and inner peace to do research because things don’t work all the time. This type of perseverance pays off. It  teaches you a temperament and also what you’re capable of, and what your limits are.”

Barley, as a gluten source, adds to the palatable texture and mouthfeel, so it’s difficult to replace and has technical hurdles to overcome. “We’re trying to find a way to make something that tastes really nice, tastes like beer.

“There’s also scale-up, which provides further challenges,” he notes. “We’re making good headway on this, and I’m pretty excited.”

In working on these research-based projects, Popowycz also gets a certain type of satisfaction, separate from his role as a professor. And it’s a field for which he’s aptly suited.

“It takes a particular mindset and inner peace to do research because things don’t work all the time. This type of perseverance pays off,” he muses. “It teaches you a temperament and also what you’re capable of, and what your limits are.”

Given his journey thus far, it’s highly likely there’s not many limits ahead.

POSITION AVAILABLE: Research Assistant position available with the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre team

Research Assistant, Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre

The Research Assistant will be enrolled in the Culinary Innovation and Food Technology or related food and beverage program. The successful candidate will work on a variety of projects and skill-building tasks. This includes assisting across various projects focusing on, but not limited to: new product development, product refinement and scale-up production, process improvement, shelf-life and packaging studies and more.

Click HERE to see the full job posting. To apply, please email your resume, cover letter, transcript and school schedule to [email protected] and reference posting ‘CFWI IC 01’ in the subject line.
The deadline to apply is Friday, December 6th, 2019.

We thank all applicants; however, only those qualifying for an interview will be contacted.

Cannabis experts talk trends and challenges at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit

A panel of experts discuss the integration of cannabis into the food and drink space. Peter McCourt, PhD; Peter Crooks; Kimberley Stuck and Christopher Sayeh.

An expert panel brought insight into the challenges and innovations surrounding the integration of cannabis-infused edibles to the audience at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College on October 23.

The inaugural, one-day event was organized by the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, part of the College’s Research & Innovation division and held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Product developers and business owners in the food space and cannabis industry spent the day learning innovative concepts and forecasted trends from experts, in areas of flavours, colours, and packaging. 

The panel was moderated by keynote speaker Skyler Webb, Director of Product Development at Cannabistry, a professional research and development company based in Illinois, United States. With his background in chemistry and food science, Webb spoke about the complexities surrounding the cannabis edible space and shared science in developing effective cannabis delivery systems – a method for providing an active ingredient to the body – such as food and beverage, sprays, and tinctures.

Skyler was joined on stage by experts to discuss the integration of cannabis into the food and drink world, the trends, food safety, and regulatory challenges in the edibles industry. Panelists included: Peter McCourt, PhD, a plant molecular biologist and professor at the University of Toronto; Peter Crooks, a neuropharmacologist and Chief Product Innovation Officer for Dosecann Cannabis Solutions; Kimberley Stuck, a leading expert in cannabis food safety and Certified Quality Auditor; and Christopher Sayeh, founder of the popular Herbal Chef™, pioneered cannabis-infused fine dining. 

With the legalization of cannabis in October 2018, Peter McCourt formed an R&D company to develop technologies to improve the genetics of the cannabis plant to formulate specific compounds in certain concentrations and ratios.  

“We see this as a huge opportunity. We don’t think cannabis will be any different than any other crop; the research just has to be done systematically,” he said. “Let’s say we could breed out the terpenes – the smells – so we wouldn’t have to do all this extraction, or others may want to breed the plants so it’s resistant to powdery mildews… we’ve done this for other crops – it’s not rocket science.”

For Peter Crooks, whose company is a Canadian-licensed dealer dedicated to developing cannabis solutions, he said the pace of innovation in this space and the regulation hurdles add layers of complexity when approaching formulation.

His products – 83 of its 130 SKUs in edibles, topicals and concentrates hitting the market before year’s end – are targeting what he calls the “big middle” – the new cannabis consumer. He said overwhelmingly consumers said they did not want to taste the terpenes in their product, so his company has focused on distillates (a cleaner concentrate). 

As for the future of the cannabis industry, Crooks said consistency is the cornerstone of consumer trust. “So how you formulate, how you extract, how you standardize and then how you formulate your cannabis extract … that maintaining the very strict standardization of that is the only way to create a product that will be consistent with a predictable effect of high quality and I think it’s going to plague the broader cannabis industry for some time.”

Skyler Webb, Director of Product Development at Cannabistry in Illinois, U.S., was a keynote speaker at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College.

Consistency will be necessary in the highly regulated Canadian market; however, it’s something not always seen in its neighbours to the south. In fact, the lack of regulations in the United States affects the safety of products there, explained Kimberley Stuck, who was the first cannabis specialist for a public health authority in the nation in Denver, Colorado.

“When something is on the shelf, people really believe that it’s safe no matter what. They think the U.S. government wouldn’t allow there to be a dangerous product sold to consumers,” she said. “When it comes to cannabis, this is not the case. The fact is there’s a lot of really sketchy things.” 

She referred to the “irresponsible dosing” in edible-infused cannabis products, where one larger section of a chocolate bar could contain 1mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and another smaller piece as much as 20mg. However, the consumer trusts that each piece is consistent in the advertising dosage.

It is similar in the cooking industry, noted Christopher Sayegh, a biology/food chemistry professional. He said chefs might put infused butter into a pan, but have no idea how much is in the pan – not to mention that the heat (to a specific temperature) will accelerate the effects of THC.

After serving tens of thousands of gourmet cannabis-infused meals through his California-based company, Sayegh places a high value on quality and controlled consistency when it comes to cannabis-infused dosing for his guests. “If you’re going to be in a commercial setting and give something out to people and don’t know the dosage that you’re giving, it’s highly irresponsible.” 

Besides customizing individual dosing per diner, Sayeh also chooses specific strains to give certain effects for the entire dining experience. For example, during a 10-course tasting menu, the average guest will receive a total of 10mg of THC and 10mg of cannabidiol (CBD), starting with uplifting strains at the outset and ending with terpenes set to provide relaxation by the end of the meal. 

The dosing of edible cannabis products is so highly regulated in Canada, companies doing product development have to measure homogenization and potency every step of the way to hit a targeted dosage spec, explained Crooks. 

“I can’t underscore enough that having analytical validated methods internally makes a massive difference,” he said, adding there’s a strong competitive advantage for those companies who have in-house analytical capabilities, otherwise it would take some six weeks to get a result back during product development. 

Sponsors for the event included: Food in Canada Magazine; Invest Hamilton Niagara; Niagara Industrial Association; Food and Beverage Ontario; Two Sisters Vineyards; and Ontario Craft Brewers. Funding support was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI) team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry’s needs. For more information visit ncinnovation.ca.

The R&I division publishes a monthly e-newsletter to keep people informed of the innovative projects, people, jobs, events, news and opportunities available through the work at Niagara College. If you’d like to receive this in your email monthly, just follow the link below to the R&I website where you’ll find the sign-up box. https://www.ncinnovation.ca/contact

Culinary trends revealed at NC’s Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit

Global culinary expert Christine Couvelier was a keynote speaker at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College on October 23.

World-class chef Christine Couvelier, a culinary executive and founder of Culinary Concierge, brought her culinary crystal ball to the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College on October 23 at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

The inaugural, one-day event was organized by the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, part of the College’s Research & Innovation division. Product developers and business owners in the food space and cannabis industry spent the day learning innovative concepts and forecasted trends from experts, in areas of flavours, colours, and packaging. 

Couvelier was the first keynote speaker of the day. As a global culinary trendologist, she spends much of her time in gourmet and grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food shows around the world. Her forward-looking predictions in the culinary world are what she called her ‘trend-watch’ report – things to look to one to five years ahead. 

One of the most significant areas of growth this year, said Couvelier, is breakfast anytime. “It’s about innovation, it’s about convenience and it’s about taste.” Things like frittatas on the go, breakfast meal kits or overnight oats. Eggs are also being reimagined. For example, hard-boiled eggs have been taken to a completely different level with the innovation of Buffalo-wing flavour.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the one category that is continually innovating is plant-based foods. Couvelier said 42 percent of consumers want to eat more vegetarian dishes, and 41 per cent want to eat more vegan meals – a vast market considering only three percent of Canadians are vegan and six percent are vegetarian.

“It means we’re designing plant-based options for everybody, not for a narrow category,” she said. “Think about how this trend applies to all of you – whatever category, whatever product, whatever you’re innovating, this all applies to you.”

These innovations are hitting the plant-based meat category – which is estimated to reach $3 billion by 2024 in the United States. She said this popularity is evidenced by the growing popularity of the Beyond Meat burgers at the A&W chain. 

Plant-based seafood such as tuna is made with pea protein, chickpea flour, faba protein and navy bean flour, and offers similar texture and flavour but without the smell or mercury levels. 

“I suspect as we go into 2020 and beyond, we’ll see a lot more innovation in this category.”

Other areas growing in innovation, according to Couvelier: 

  • ♦ oat milk, with 2018 sales up 425 per cent. 
  • ♦ kombucha, with sales rising to $416 million last year.
  • ♦ cauliflower 3.0 – first steamed, then riced, it’s now a crunchy, plant-based snack.  Packaged cauliflower products rose 71 per cent in just this year. 
  • ♦ grocerants are restaurants in the middle of gourmet and grocery stores. Some even have live music and cooking demonstrations.
  • ♦ meal kits are seeing better flavours and less package waste. An estimated 600,000 meal  kits were sold in Canada in the first six months of 2019.
  • ♦ butter innovation: Couvelier noted NC’s Benchmark flavouring its butter with the campus bee honey. 
  • grilled cheese: it’s all about nostalgia and memories and even chefs at high-end restaurants are adding grilled cheese to their menus.
  •  bespoke vegetables: connecting farmers, chefs, and breeders to create a collection of tasty vegetables. An example of this: combining celery and asparagus to get the ‘celtus.’
  • ♦ doughnuts are being hailed as the ‘dish of the year’ and replacing buns or nachos.
  • ♦ sustainability: consumers are paying attention to packaging more than ever before i.e. biodegradable and reusable packaging. 
  • ♦ new innovations: pink lemonade blueberries; nighttime snack foods

Couvelier’s top advice in the product development world: taste everything!

“Wherever you are, taste the local specialties; go and talk to a distillery; go and talk to a winemaker; go and talk to a craft bartender and think outside the confines of your business and your brand and your category. And experience the food world as a whole.”

Sponsors for the event included: Food in Canada Magazine; Invest Hamilton Niagara; Niagara Industrial Association; Food and Beverage Ontario; Two Sisters Vineyards; and Ontario Craft Brewers. Funding support was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry’s needs. For more information visit ncinnovation.ca.

The R&I division publishes a monthly e-newsletter to keep people informed of the innovative projects, people, jobs, events, news and opportunities available through the work at Niagara College. If you’d like to receive this in your email monthly, just follow the link below to the R&I website where you’ll find the sign-up box. https://www.ncinnovation.ca/contact

NC’s Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit a sell-out success

A sold-out crowd of innovators in the food and beverage space assembled at Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-lake campus on October 23 for the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit. The one-day event was hosted by the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, part of the Research & Innovation division.

Product developers and business owners in the food space and cannabis industry spent the day learning innovative concepts and forecasted trends from experts, in areas of flavours, colours, and packaging. 

Attendees also discovered the complexities surrounding the hottest topic of the day: the integration of cannabis into the food and beverage chain. In the second phase of legalization, cannabis-infused edibles gained legal status by Health Canada on Oct. 17, one year after legalizing recreational marijuana in the country on the same date in 2018.

The inaugural event was organized by the CFWI Innovation Centre with the support of several sponsors, including Food in Canada Magazine; Invest Hamilton Niagara; Niagara Industrial Association; Food and Beverage Ontario; Two Sisters Vineyards; and Ontario Craft Brewers. Funding support was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“It was exciting to collaborate with industry experts and innovators to drive growth and development in the food and beverage space,” said Lyndon Ashton, Centre Manager for the CFWI Innovation Centre. “This innovation summit seemed like a logical step given how intimately connected our institute is with food, beverage, and cannabis from an educational and applied research perspective. It just made sense to bring industry and researchers together to share the latest developments in these key sectors.”

 
CULINARY TRENDS

The first keynote of the day was world-class chef Christine Couvelier, a culinary executive and founder of Culinary Concierge. 

Global culinary expert Christine Couvelier was a keynote speaker at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College on October 23.

As a global culinary trendologist, Couvelier spends much of her time in gourmet and grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food shows around the world. Her forward-looking predictions in the culinary world are what she called her ‘trend-watch’ report – things to look to one to five years ahead. 

One of the most significant areas of growth this year, said Couvelier, is breakfast anytime. “It’s about innovation, it’s about convenience and it’s about taste.” Things like frittatas on the go, breakfast meal kits or overnight oats. Eggs are also being reimagined. For example, hard-boiled eggs have been taken to a completely different level with the innovation of Buffalo-wing flavour.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the one category that is continually innovating is plant-based foods. Couvelier said 42 percent of consumers want to eat more vegetarian dishes, and 41 per cent want to eat more vegan meals – a vast market considering only three percent of Canadians are vegan and six percent are vegetarian.

“It means we’re designing plant-based options for everybody, not for a narrow category,” she said. Think about how this trend applies to all of you – whatever category, whatever product, whatever you’re innovating, this all applies to you.”

For an inside look into Couvelier’s forecast of food & beverage trends click HERE 

To expand on trends, a panel of experts joined Couvelier on the stage; the specialists included: Jason Mittelheuser, a biochemist with FONA International; Kaela Lewis, Senior Product Developer at Hela Spice Canada;  Ana Cristina Vega-Lugo, PhD, Senior Food Scientist at the CFWI Innovation Centre and Mitin Rathod, a marketing, research and innovation professional.

An expert panel discuses food and beverage trends: Jason Mittelheuser; Kaela Lewis; Ana Cristina Vega-Lugo, PhD; and Mitin Rathod.

As for trends in the beverage space, Ana Cristina Vega-Lugo, PhD, identified non-alcoholic products as being a significant trend and said her research team at the College has developed many alcohol-free beverages.

“Consumers are looking for a healthy alternative, with lower calories,” she said. “We’ll soon be seeing a greater number of seniors in the population and they’re more conscious of their health, but still want to enjoy the tastes of wine, beer or distilled spirits.”

That same health consciousness applies to food choices in general, she added. “Consumers are wanting more healthier choices with more clean-label ingredients. They’re looking for the nutritional value of the produce: lower calories, fewer fat, less sugar… they are looking for the whole package of health.”

During a number of breakout sessions, hosted by experts, participants took away strategies to de-risk new product introductions, taste modification and plant-based science.

 

CANNABIS TRENDS

The afternoon keynote speaker was Skyler Webb, the Director of Product Development at Cannabistry, a professional research and development company based in Illinois, United States. With his background in chemistry and food science Webb spoke about the complexities surrounding the cannabis edible space and shared science in developing effective cannabis delivery systems – a method for providing an active ingredient to the body – such as food and beverage, sprays, and tinctures.

Skyler Webb, Director of Product Development at Cannabistry in Illinois, U.S., was a keynote speaker at the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit at Niagara College.

Since the cannabis plant contains more than 600 chemical compounds, it’s no wonder that complexities are many in terms of formulation, interactions with carriers and monitoring a product that’s easily degraded by temperature, explained Webb.

Considerations in the edible cannabis space include the route of administration, applied dose and additional factors in the formulation, he said.

“A proper route can be selected depending on what your desired effect or outcome is desired to be – whether it’s for therapeutic, wellness or recreational purposes,” he said. “The number one takeaway here is to remember when you’re developing cannabis-infused products you’re actually developing a drug-delivery system, since cannabis is biologically active for the human body.”

Many things affect bioavailability (the percentage that is available to the body), including carrier oils; however, these absorption methods are understudied, Webb noted. “While it’s one of the most important things in understanding the resulting effect of your product, unfortunately, it’s one of the most difficult to determine.”

An expert panel also discussed the integration of cannabis into the food and drink world, the trends, food safety, and regulatory challenges in the edibles industry. Panelists included: Peter McCourt, PhD, a plant molecular biologist and professor at the University of Toronto; Peter Crooks, a neuropharmacologist and Chief Product Innovation Officer for Dosecann Cannabis Solutions; Kimberley Stuck, a leading expert in cannabis food safety and Certified Quality Auditor; and Christopher Sayeh, founder of the popular Herbal Chef™, a pioneer in cannabis-infused fine dining. 

A panel of experts discuss the integration of cannabis into the food and drink space. Peter McCourt, PhD; Peter Crooks; Kimberley Stuck and Christopher Sayeh.

The dosing of edible cannabis products is so highly regulated in Canada, companies doing product development have to measure homogenization and potency every step of the way to hit a targeted dosage spec, explained Peter Crooks.

“I can’t underscore enough that having analytical validated methods internally makes a massive difference,” he said, adding there’s a strong competitive advantage for those companies who have in-house analytical capabilities, otherwise it would take some six weeks to get a result back during product development. 

Learn more about the expert discussion surrounding cannabis edibles HERE

The day also included tours of the research labs at the CFWI Innovation Centre, the College’s Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery. Attendees got an inside look into NC’s Cannabunker, the school’s teaching facility for its Commercial Cannabis Production program, launched in September 2018, and the first of its kind in Canada. 

Bill MacDonald, Coordinator of NC’s Commercial Cannabis Production program gave a tour of the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus Cannabunker to attendees of the Niagara Food & Beverage Innovation Summit.

“This event was a unique opportunity for thought leaders, product developers, marketers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in the food, beverage and edible cannabis sectors to learn from one another, as well as other world-renowned experts,” added Ashton.

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI) team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry’s needs. For more information visit ncinnovation.ca.

The R&I division publishes a monthly e-newsletter to keep people informed of the innovative projects, people, jobs, events, news and opportunities available through the work at Niagara College. If you’d like to receive this in your email monthly, just follow the link below to the R&I website where you’ll find the sign-up box. https://www.ncinnovation.ca/contact

 

 

Research & Innovation featured on CKTB Newstalk Radio

The Marotta Family Innovation Complex was a hub of activity in the early hours of October 11, as Niagara College welcomed Newstalk 610 to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

Students, staff and faculty who passed by the main lobby of the Complex from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., were welcomed by the sight of headset-clad radio hosts Tim Denis and Shelby Knox and the morning show’s guests of the day – many from Niagara College –  speaking into Newstalk 610 microphones addressing listeners tuning in from across the region and beyond.

The excitement was part of Niagara College’s participation in the station’s Business Trip, sponsored by Niagara Economic Development, which has been taking the Niagara in the Morning show on the road this fall highlighting different businesses in Niagara and discussing important issues. The October 11 segment focused on food and beverage manufacturing in Niagara.

President Dan Patterson joined a 30-minute roundtable discussion with Town of Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulis. They spoke about the Marotta Family Innovation Centre, the important role of agribusiness in Niagara, the emerging cannabis industry. The discussion also focused on the vital role that Niagara College plays in the region and across the province – helping industries innovate, developing a highly-skilled workforce to meet demands of growing industries, and how NC’s Research & Innovation division is creating opportunities for students, for businesses and the economy.

“Food and beverage is going through an incredible revolution looking at the technology, and we’re focusing on food for the future; how do we ensure students get equipped with the right skills and knowledge how do we attract more business to Niagara, so it’s a pretty exciting time for the College,” said Patterson.

“Agrifood is so important to Niagara and all the research is suggesting that we are underperforming in that area. In other words, we should be doing a lot better at generating wealth. Hence the importance of a highly skilled workforce – that’s where Niagara College comes in.”

Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre manager Lyndon Ashton, and research assistant Shannon Sidney Wood, who is a student in the Culinary Food Innovation program, participated in the 30-minute roundtable, discussing research projects they have conducted for various industry partners, including Ravine Estate Vineyard, Reinhardt’s, Royal Canadian Mead and more.

Listen to the segment featuring Ashton and Wood (7:30 a.m.) here:

https://www.iheartradio.ca/610cktb/audio/cktb-business-trip-food-and-beverage-processing-1.10071242?mode=Article

The show also welcomed Matt Bonanno, president and CEO of Iron Will Raw. The St. Catharines-based company became the first the first premium raw pet food manufacturer in Ontario and Eastern Canada to achieve Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certification, with help from Niagara College’s Research & Innovation Division.

Listen to the segment featuring Iron Will Raw (7:20 a.m.) here:

www.iheartradio.ca/610cktb/audio/cktb-business-trip-food-and-beverage-processing-1.10071148?mode=Article

~ Julie Greco

For more Niagara College staff interviews visit InsideNC: