Culinary food science in spotlight

Rich Products (Rich’s) has looked to the Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre to lend its expertise in preparation for the company’s launch of its newest equipment design – ProWhip, a new whipping machine for use in cafes and coffee shops/bars around the world. 

The appliance, ProWhip – designed and manufactured by Rich’s – provides a controlled way to whip cream and other liquids with a single button and complements the dispensing of their already popular ready-to-whip toppings.

Rich’s is a multinational food-products corporation headquartered in Buffalo, New York. A leader in toppings and icings, it’s also a global competitor in cakes, desserts and bakery products; breads and rolls; pizza and flatbreads; and seafood and appetizers. The family-owned company employs more than 11,000 employees worldwide, with manufacturing facilities in a dozen countries. 

“One of our signature product lines is non-dairy whipped toppings and dairy blends that we sell to industrial markets globally,” explains Rich’s R&D manager Leah Schatzline, adding that this is a new market for the company and the ProWhip machine will help them with this endeavour.

“This new whipping machine is a complement in that now we’re providing equipment to make it easier for coffees shops and cafes to use our products.”

“That’s the beauty of Niagara College, in that it marries culinary and food science together. The Innovation Centre’s research team is really good at recipe development, but also able to speak the language of food science.”

The CFWI Innovation Centre research team is helping Rich’s in two critical areas. First, with recipe creation that can be used when promoting the ProWhip machines to the global markets, and second, evaluating the performance of the equipment itself.

“We wanted to be able to provide our global partners with creative and innovative drink recipes when using Rich’s products with ProWhip that can be mixed or blended,” says Schatzline.

The CFWI Innovation Centre research team developed 20 recipes and presented these at a virtual workshop held in June with Rich’s associates across the globe.

Schatzline pointed to the benefit of the international diversity on the research team and how this was an advantage to the end result. Examples of this international flair included a recipe for Vietnamese Egg Coffee, a recipe for Dalgona Coffee (a drink made popular in South Korea during the start of the COVID pandemic) and a Foamed Horchata (a sweet white rice beverage originating in Mexico).

“I think it was helpful to have diverse students working on our project because we needed recipe ideas that were relevant and familiar to locations throughout the world,” she notes.

As for the equipment evaluation, the food science experts are currently reviewing all applications in the new unit and also recreating the recipes the team had previously developed to ensure the settings remain unchanged. 

The ProWhip machine is scheduled to launch to global markets in 2022.

While this is the second project this year, Rich’s is well familiar with the capabilities of Niagara College’s CFWI Innovation Centre and has been utilizing the Technology Access Centre’s (TAC) fee-for-service solutions for the past six years. 

Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and housed at colleges or cégeps across Canada, TACs provide access to specialized technology, equipment, and expertise to local industry to enhance their productivity and innovation.

The appeal for Rich’s, explains Schatzline, is being able to tap into the culinary research skills at the CFWI Innovation Centre. Being a large corporation, it does have an in-house R&D division, but, as Schatzline points out, it’s made up of mainly food scientists and engineers and not as many culinary scientists. 

“We have highly technical food scientists and engineers on our team who sometimes lack that culinary perspective,” adds Schatzline. “That’s the beauty of Niagara College, in that it marries culinary and food science together. The Innovation Centre’s research team is really good at recipe development, but also able to speak the language of food science.”

This is one example of the types of technical services offered by the CFWI Innovation Centre.
To discover other resources and capabilities, visit the CFWI Innovation Centre website.