Food scientists develop superfood products

In the midst of a global health crisis, one industry partner continues to deliver healthy superfoods to the market.  

Miski Organics’ most recent offering: a vegan, gluten-free pancake-waffle mix, a product developed with the food science expertise of Niagara College’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre. 

“The pancake and waffle mix is in the market already, and despite the pandemic, is moving well,” says Miski Organics president Ricardo Irivarren. “Not too many gluten-free-organic-vegan and non-GMO pancake mix options in the market. The taste is also great.” 

The family-owned agri-food company specializes in creating Peruvian-inspired organic superfoods (powerhouse foods known for their nutrient-rich properties). Miski Organics sources from farmers in Peru, which is home to foods that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. All their products are organic certified, non-GMO, kosher and gluten-free.  

Following a competitive analysis of the marketplace by Research & Innovation’s Business & Commercialization Solutions team, Miski partnered with the CFWI Innovation Centre to expand its health-conscious dried/powdered superfoods line. They were interested in formulations with products such as a cookie mix, a pancake mix, a smoothie mix and a sasha inchi butter. 

The food research team at the CFWI Innovation Centre provided a preliminary risk assessment, product development, sensory evaluation, processing and regulatory advice throughout the project. This resulted in more than 10 different prototypes, of which Miski chose six final formulations, including a cookie mix, smoothie booster, pancake mix, yacon cereal and two natural butters.  

Miski Organics has successfully introduced the two natural peanut-free butters into the market: Organic Sacha Inchi Butter and Organic Sacha Inchi Choco Butter. These two unique products were officially launched last year with great acceptance.  

“My experience dealing with the CFWI Innovation Centre has been great since the beginning,” adds Irivarren. “Ana [Cristina Vega-Lugo, senior scientist] and her team have provided us with new products currently under development, so there will be more options that Miski will introduce into the market.” 

The Peru link has been the company’s backbone, says Irivarren, whose wife Mariella and her sister, Lia (both Peru natives) founded the company in 2016. Lia, who still lives in Peru, deals with farmers and producers at her end, and Mariella and Ricardo take care of packaging and selling in Canada. 

“Having a presence in both countries has been a key factor,” says Irivarren. 

The company is dedicated to importing, packaging and distributing premium organic superfoods, with its product line of Andean grains and seeds, raw dried superfoods and raw cacao derivatives, both in bulk and packaged for retail. 

“Our clients include health and wellness consumers, retailers, distributors, and food and beverage companies in Canada and the United States,” notes Irivarren. 

Miski Organics currently has a network of primarily health food stores across Canada and online through, and their own website. 

The company recently relocated its production facility from Burlington to Barrie, and a “more organically certified” processing plant. 

This research project received funding from the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) through the College Voucher for Technology Adoption (CVTA) program. 

The CFWI Innovation Centre team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and the 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. In all cases, the intellectual property developed during the project belongs to the industry partner.