University of Guelph Students to Develop Innovative Food Concepts with Industry Leading Mentors

Five wooden spoons filled with flour and baking powder.

Annual capstone project kicks off with a mission to inspire innovation in emerging food markets including vegan, vegetable proteins, breakfast, beverage and more.

Guelph, ON, October 16, 2017 – As part of an annual and much anticipated capstone project, students from the University of Guelph presented their original food product concepts to a panel of industry leading mentors on Friday, October 13th. Over the next five months, students from the Food Science, Marketing, Nutrition and Engineering programs will work in teams to turn their ideas into prototypes, culminating in a final competition in March 2018.

“Our goal is to provide students with a collaborative experience that addresses current trends and challenges in the food industry“, said Lisa Duizer, Department of Food Science Associate Professor at the University of Guelph. “By making this an interdisciplinary project that involves University of Guelph students from various programs, we are also demonstrating the diverse and interesting career opportunities that exist in food processing.”

Each student team is responsible for developing a product that fits into a food category currently undergoing significant industry growth and interest: vegan; vegetable proteins; convenient indulgences; breakfast; beverage; and snacks. In March 2018, each student team will present their product for a taste test competition to mentors and judges, along with a business case and marketing plan.

New this year is the addition of six mentors from the southwestern Ontario region who are food industry experts. The mentors include: Rob Bianchin, Vice President at Blendtek Fine Ingredients; Daryl Holmes, a founder and former COO and co-CEO at Nealanders (now Caldic Canada); Brian Jones, Director at BAJ Group Inc.; Christina Marsigliese, Product Developer at the Guelph Food Innovation Centre; Derek Vella, ‎Product Developer at Loblaw Companies Limited; and Dr. Tyler Zemlak, Technology Transfer Officer at the University of Guelph.

“These University of Guelph students represent the next generation of food innovators and leaders,” said Rob Bianchin, Vice President at Blendtek Fine Ingredients. “Our job as mentors is to not only provide guidance, but also challenge students to consider product viability and market opportunities. The concepts these teams have developed are really exciting from a food innovation standpoint, and we look forward to working with them to develop their ideas.”

The concepts presented on October 13th including a vegan ravioli, ice cream macarons, a powdered probiotic beverage and more,  provide a look into the future of the food and beverage sector in Ontario and beyond from one of Canada’s leading post secondary institutions and food science programs. Ontario’s food and beverage industry is one of the largest in North America and is currently the province’s number one employer within the manufacturing sector.


About Blendtek

Blendtek is a premier food ingredients and solutions company with a mission to challenge expectations and help fuel food innovation globally. As a trusted source for innovators, Blendtek supplies high quality food ingredients and solutions ranging from the basics to the inspired such as specialty flours, gluten free products, natural extracts and sweeteners, alternative protein sources, functional food systems, proprietary blends and much more. For more information visit

For media inquiries:

Christina Vanin, Principal, Canvas Communications,

Lisa Duizer, Department of Food Science Associate Professor, University of Guelph,

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