Innovative Foods on Display and Winners Announced at University of Guelph’s Annual Student Showcase

A group of people standing around at an event.

A vegan and gluten-free pasta named the winning product idea at this year’s University of Guelph student showcase organized by the university’s Department of Food Science and Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies


Students from the winning team (left to right) Rachel Tseng, Yingying Feng, Katherine Goodrow, Allan Mai with project mentor Christina Marsigliese, Product Developer, Guelph Food Innovation Centre. Image credit: Livia Widjaja

Guelph, Ontario, April 9, 2018 – Plant powered foods and decadent desserts ruled supreme at this year’s annual University of Guelph food product development showcase held Thursday, April 5, 2018. The showcase is the final chapter in an eight month long interdisciplinary capstone project focused on inspiring innovation in food from one of Canada’s leading post-secondary institutions and food science programs.

In total, 12 student teams from the University of Guelph presented food product prototypes in various categories including vegan, vegetable proteins, convenient indulgences, breakfast, beverage, and snacks.

This year marked the first time the showcase featured a three-minute elevator pitch competition in which students were evaluated on their product concept, proposed marketing strategy and overall presentation by an esteemed panel of judges and food industry experts. The judges included Dana McCauley, chef, food writer and Associate Director of New Venture Creation for University of Guelph; Deanna Rosolen, Managing Editor, Food In Canada; John Lam, Business Incubator Services Manager, University of Guelph; and Daryl Holmes, founder and former COO and co-CEO at Nealanders (now Caldic Canada).

Winning Teams

• First place: Foraged Vegan Gluten Free Ravioli, an easy to prepare pasta which addresses the growing market for gluten free and vegan options
• Second place: Decadent Indulgent Chocolate Mochi Bites, a Japanese-style snack size dessert
• Third place: Bijou Treats Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich which combines two favourite and trending dessert items into one convenient treat

The winning teams will receive a monetary prize provided by Pepsico.

“Over the last eight months, students from the Food Science, Marketing, Nutrition and Engineering programs at the University of Guelph have been working in teams to turn concepts into prototypes, while getting a taste for the many career opportunities in the food processing industry – everything from concept development to testing to marketing,” said Lisa Duizer, Department of Food Science Associate Professor at the University of Guelph. “We are proud to see these students bring their ideas to life and showcase their hard work and food product development journey.”

Also new this year was a mentor program in which six food industry experts from the southwestern Ontario region helped guide the student teams throughout the process to refine their food concepts, address potential market challenges and inspire this next generation of food innovators. The mentors included Rob Bianchin, Vice President at Blendtek Fine Ingredients; Daryl Holmes, founder and former COO and co-CEO at Nealanders (now Caldic Canada); Brian Jones, Director, BAJ Group Inc.; Christina Marsigliese, Product Developer, Guelph Food Innovation Centre; Derek Vella, ‎Product Developer, Loblaw Companies Limited; and Dr. Tyler Zemlak, Technology Transfer Officer, University of Guelph.

“Part of ensuring a healthy and robust food industry in Canada is helping young talent develop the skills, confidence and drive to innovate and improve,” said Rob Bianchin, Vice President at Blendtek Fine Ingredients. “The products presented by these University of Guelph students accurately reflect current market trends, in particular, the shift to functional ingredients such as brown rice flour, aquafaba, and plant-based proteins like pumpkin protein powder that help create more nutrient-dense food products.”
The University of Guelph food product development showcase was held at Cutten Fields, in the heart of downtown Guelph, on April 5, 2018. In addition to the competition, each student team sampled their food products to those in attendance including University students, professors, administrators, project mentors, judges and the public.

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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