Category Archives: Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre

Apple cider project gets even sweeter

After a successful season increasing distribution of Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider into LCBOs across the province, Reinhart’s Foods is looking forward to even more exciting ventures for the brand in the year ahead.

According to Scott Singer, general manager and third-generation family member of Reinhart Foods, the hard cider maintained a Top 5 Ontario sales performance for most of 2018 while sales were doubled from the launch year of 2017.

“We are continuing to grow the Reinhart’s brand with more news to come in the spring,” noted Singer.

It is the first light beverage of its kind in the Canadian hard cider category and is made using 100 per cent Ontario-grown apples. The product is the result of a close collaboration between the research team at Niagara College’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre and Reinhart Foods Ltd., well known and respected for its vinegars and baking ingredients.

While Reinhart had experience in liquid-based manufacturing and fermentation, the company did not have the necessary capabilities or equipment to develop a high-end commercially-marketable hard apple cider beverage, so they turned to the CFWI Innovation Centre for their expertise.

Thanks to funding by a College and Community Innovation Enhancement grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the team, which included students and faculty, handled everything from product development, competitive and sensory analysis, and quality control, to knowledge transfer in providing final recipe and process for making the cider at Reinhart’s production site in Stayner, Ont.

A key benefit to the lower alcohol is being able to better showcase the pure apple taste, with ripe, fresh red and golden apple flavours, explains NC’s Gavin Robertson, the faculty research lead for the Reinhart project, and instructor with the NC Teaching Winery. “It’s a satisfying achievement for the whole team and an example of the ways in which NC’s Research & Innovation department is able to contribute to Ontario enterprise.”

For more information on food and beverage innovation projects, click here.

Pet food company now an industry leader

With help from the research team at Niagara College, Iron Will Raw is now the first and only pet food facility in Ontario to be Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified and only one of three in all of Canada. Internationally recognized, HACCP is a systematic and preventative approach to food safety, which helps to find, correct, and prevent hazards throughout the production process.

With this internationally recognized certification, Iron Will Raw is on its way to becoming a national brand coast to coast, says its owner Matt Bonanno. He readily gives some of the credit for his company’s rapid growth to the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre for its help in the demanding process of ensuring food safety is their No. 1 priority in their products, along with high-quality natural ingredients.

Company owner and president Matt Bonanno with four canine friends in front of Iron Will Raw’s temperature- controlled delivery vehicle.

Iron Will Raw came on board with the CFWI Innovation Centre for two separate applied research projects, thanks to Niagara Region and federal funding (from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), and involved students receiving real-world knowledge guided by expert staff, including an industry HACCP specialist.

The research team helped Iron Will Raw develop rigorous food safety protocols. The result is a pristine facility with 24/7 temperature monitoring, full traceability to slaughter and biological guarantees from suppliers for a number of pathogens. Now that the production facility is following strict adherence to good manufacturing practices, the company is focused on moving the business into more locations across Canada.

For more information on food and beverage innovation projects, click here.

Student researchers boost holistic product line

After developing his organic Broya bone broth product, entrepreneur Tim Sotoadeh had a new idea for a product to commercialize: a nitrite, soy, and gluten-free jerky snack. He turned to the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre at Niagara College to utilize both the culinary and food science expertise and state-of-the-art labs in order to get his new product to market.

“There was no way I was going to develop these products without the College… that’s a fact. I really don’t think my product could be differentiated enough,” says Sotoadeh. “Or even going to a co-packer on my own to do testing would cost me a lot of money and a lot of headaches.”

Guided by food experts with the CFWI Innovation Centre, the research team of students and graduates helped to expand Broya’s holistic line by developing a meat snack with shelf stability and with no additives, refined sugars, hormones or antibiotics. The team conducted extensive research, which included the development of more than 100 different flavour profiles. From those, three different flavours were chosen to develop for market: Sweet Chili Heat Beef Bites, Jalapeno & Honey Chicken Bites and Mango & Cayenne Pepper Turkey Bites.

The meat snacks are now in major grocery stores and other retail shelves across Ontario.

Sotoadeh was so impressed with the Innovation Centre that he partnered with the team again, as they secured funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program for an applied research project to assist with improving his original bone broth product.

He received comprehensive research assistance, complete with regulatory, production, packing, labeling, and product development. For example, recommendations were provided to select and monitor quality control parameters for food safety and food processing purposes, using the leading-edge testing equipment at the Innovation Centre labs.

For more information on food and beverage innovation projects, click here.

Parliamentary committee hears from NC Centre Manager on value-added food sector

Parliamentary committee hears from NC Centre Manager on value-added food sector

Lyndon Ashton, Centre Manager for the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre, was recently asked to visit Ottawa to make a presentation regarding the food sector to the Senate Committee on Agriculture & Forestry.

In particular, the federal committee sought input on the work that colleges do to assist business while providing applied research opportunities to students. The committee is currently examining how the value-added food sector can be more competitive in global markets.

During the Nov. 29 presentation, Ashton outlined how SMEs engage with the CFWI Innovation Centre by partnering on projects in a number of key areas that allow them to scale up, innovate, grow, etc.

For example, he spoke of a project with Reinhart Foods, to develop a light hard apple cider. In partnership with the college’s Teaching Winery, and using the expertise of faculty and student researchers, Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider was launched, and has been steadily increasing in sales month over month since it was launched in 2017.

Broya is a company focused on holistic living and eating nourishing food. They partnered with the college to refine their products, including their nutritious bone broth product, as well as to develop new types of products, including meat bites that are now on grocery shelves and online sales across Ontario.

Miname came to the college as an importer of ethnic malt beverages facing challenges with finding consistent stable ingredients. After their partnership with the CFWI Innovation Centre, they now have made-in-Canada products that meet the proper food safety protocols, which are available for sale in Canada, and could be developed for export markets as well.

Colleges are dedicated to supporting applied research for students, through co-op and internship programs, but also through the Technology Access Centre program, an NSERC-funded enhancement of the CFWI Innovation Centre, allowing the Centre to hire students as research assistants. They work under the guidance of researchers, shoulder to shoulder with talented people, and in many cases, end up getting hired by the industry partner as soon as the project is finished.

Ashton’s presentation concluded with three main points of what is needed to strengthen the positive results of college-industry partnerships in this sector:

● multi-year funding is important to build up tangible results

● investigating models that develop talent and new intellectual property

● strengthening supports to colleges to support their SMEs

Luis Garcia, Chair, Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology, at Conestoga College, was also invited to make a presentation on his institution’s work with SMEs.

To learn more about the CFWI Innovation Centre, click here.

Funding for state-of-the-art agri-food and beverage research

Niagara College has received more than $1.6 million in federal and provincial grants to help fund cutting-edge beverage research equipment for the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWI IC), which will be housed within the College’s new Marotta Family Innovation Complex. The Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) College-Industry Fund (CIIF) will supply $816,000 and another $816,000 will be provided by the Ontario Research Fund. The Marotta Innovation Complex will directly support applied research and world-class training specifically for the wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverage sectors in Niagara.

Through the CFWI IC’s Beverage Innovation Excellence research program, the new tech will equip three distinct research labs within the new 49,000-square-foot complex, which is set to open later this year.

“Over the past several years, Niagara College has proven itself to be a powerhouse for applied research for Canada’s food and beverage industries,” said Marc Nantel, NC’s associate vice-president of Research & Innovation. “This equipment will allow us to build upon that reputation and continue to conduct world-class research that will make significant contributions to this industry, right here in Niagara and across the country.”

The projects build on strong demand from regional beverage manufacturers and more than six years of recent capacity-building for food and beverage research and development at the CFWI IC. Since 2012, the CFWI IC has conducted more than 65 applied research projects, the products of several of which are now available on the market nationally and internationally. The staff and faculty who conduct these projects with students and industry partners are proven experts in food and beverage engineering, science, product development, and sensory analysis; food safety and regulatory affairs; nutrition; microbial and chemical analysis; and more.

~ Andrew Korchok       Read more at InsideNC

CFWI Innovation Centre hosts event to help local food and beverage professionals get their product on shelves

More than 75 food and beverage processing professionals from across Niagara, Hamilton and the GTA converged on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus on May 23 to learn how they can get their products on supermarket shelves.

‘Raise the Barcode’ was a collaborative event hosted by the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre. Organizing partners included Niagara Economic Development, Hamilton Economic Development, Niagara’s Small Business Enterprise Centres and Cushman Wakefield.

Attendees listened and asked questions of Gary Macdonald from Whole Foods Market and Casey Eleusiniotis and Andrea Ramlogan from Jon Luca Enterprise, who shared how to craft a competitive market pitch to grocers, and get products in stores. Afterwards, attendees toured Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute to see how the CFWI Innovation Centre supports local food manufacturers through applied research and development projects.

“Today was very informative; I wish they had this four or five years ago,” said Joanne Van Liefland, owner of St. Catharines-based food manufacturer Wrap it Up Raw Inc. “Anytime these events can help a small business to grow not only helps the business, but also helps the community and local employment. You can always gain something from someone else’s experience.”

The Canadian Food & Wine Institute 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 needs.

“Our Centre exists to help companies in the food and beverage sector commercialize new products and bring them to market,” said Lyndon Ashton, manager, Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre. “We do this by supporting food entrepreneurs with developing concepts into prototypes and helping them scale up to commercially viable products, all the while training the next generation of talent who is directly involved in the innovation process.”

Because a majority of the Centre’s clients are small-and medium-sized businesses, knowledge transfer is critical. “Events like this provide them with key information that they can use to make business decisions and better understand how to navigate and succeed in some of the final links in the value chain – distribution and retailing,” said Ashton.

~ Andrew Korchok