Niagara College today celebrated the grand opening of the labs at its Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre by showcasing its recipes for success. The Centre exists to provide solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses in Niagara and beyond in the field of food and beverage innovation.
One of the college’s newest project partners celebrity chef Vikram Vij attended the event as keynote speaker. Vij who recently became a Dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den praised the Centre and its expert innovation team comprised of faculty recent graduates and students.
“My experience collaborating with the team at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre has been outstanding” said Vij. “Our food safety project will enable my Vij’s At Home meat-based product line to be distributed across Canada not just in B.C. This drastically increases the capacity at our processing facility and will lead the way for increased jobs in the sector.”
College officials were joined by special guests for the grand opening including local representatives of the federal provincial and regional government as well as a representative of the Canada Foundation for Innovation one of the major funders of the lab.
The creation of the labs was announced as part of a visit from Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex in August 2012. Since that time concept drawings and wish lists have transformed into four fully operational labs with specialized equipment and infrastructure to conduct projects involving but not limited to microbiology; shelf-life analysis; food chemistry; and sensory analysis. The Centre offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes including new recipe development shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling as well as sensory analysis and consumer preference studies.
“The Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre leverages our expertise in food and fermentation sciences to provide solutions for a key sector while creating exceptional real-world learning experiences that link our students and faculty to industry” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “We’re very grateful for the support of our regional provincial and federal governments whose investments help drive research and innovation at Niagara College.”
Several recent and current industry partners also attended the event to demonstrate their newly produced or commercialized goods developed through project partnerships with the Innovation Centre.
For example the innovation team recently worked with MADD Virgin Drinks to develop a craft lager with zero alcohol. From recipe development to creating the label the research team was an integral part of the process. Today MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager has North American distribution and earned gold in its category at the U.S. Open Beer Championships.
The Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus was supported with significant funding from the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation the Ontario Research Fund and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
“Today’s opening marks yet another milestone in the remarkable growth and reputation of Niagara College” said St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra. “As the Niagara Region continues to strengthen its standing as a destination of culinary excellence it does so hand in hand with Niagara College. My congratulations to all involved.”
“Once again Niagara College has demonstrated its central role in providing services that can be applied in a practical manner to businesses in our community and beyond our borders” noted Jim Bradley St. Catharines MPP. “The expertise of faculty the enthusiasm of the students and the equipment and facilities at the College combine to make a positive combination to the business community.”
“The fruitful partnerships this centre has so successfully developed with local and national food and beverage companies prove that when businesses have access to research expertise and cutting-edge facilities they are able to remain competitive” said Dr. Gilles Patry President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “In essence these research partnerships are contributing to economic prosperity in a number of communities.”
ABOUT THE CFWI INNOVATION CENTRE
The Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus exists to provide solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses in the thriving field of food and beverage innovation.
The centre offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes including new recipe development shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling as well as sensory analysis and consumer preference studies
Through regional provincial and federal funding the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs businesses with faculty recent graduates and students who have the expertise to meet research and innovation needs.
By engaging in these partnerships the Centre is able to play a leadership role in revitalizing the regional economy; enhance the productivity and increase the competitiveness of area SMEs; and support the creation of new jobs through these successful collaborations.
The CFWI Innovation Centre is operated by the Research & Innovation division of Niagara College.
ABOUT RESEARCH & INNOVATION
Niagara College’s Research and Innovation Division provides real-world solutions for business industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities.
We conduct projects that provide innovative solutions such as producing and testing prototypes evaluating new technologies and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses.
With funding support from various regional provincial and federal agencies students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers to assist industry partners leap forward in the marketplace.
For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca/Research
ABOUT NIAGARA COLLEGE
Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses.
Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics.
For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.
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