Dr. Ana Cristina Vega Lugo, SIAL Canada expert at Niagara College.
SIAL Canada—Canada’s largest food and beverage trade show—is back for its 19th edition, from April 20th to 22nd at Montreal's Palais des Congrès. SIAL’s Pitch Competition Jury President, Dr. Ana Cristina Vega Lugo will be at the show to connect start-ups with other businesses to help them get to the next level.
What expertise Niagara College Canada can bring to this year’s Pitch Competition?
The Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre team at Niagara College offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. We support them with feasibility studies, technical changes, product development, food engineering, food processing, food safety and regulatory.
What are expectations for the 2022 Pitch Competition?
To attract outstanding start-up innovators and provide guidance and support for growth, and exposure to one of the largest food networks for future opportunities.
What is the future of the industry in your area of expertise?
In the food and beverage industry:
In terms of technology: green technology, robotics (automatization), nanotechnology and more to satisfy the urgent industry and consumer demands and supply chain. Advanced manufacturing is the future, and outstanding technology would be the one that also supports green sustainability.
health and nutrition are a top trend, that would include clean label, incorporation of nutraceutical, non-alcoholic alternatives, and allergen-free alternatives. Outstanding products would provide a balance between flavour pleasure and health; the opportunity of personalization would be a huge hit.
Also, local suppliers and breaking supply chain barrier must be considered when creative and inspiration takes place.
What excites you the most in your role of jury president?
The opportunity to collect all different feedbacks from key experts which come with a complete different set of lenses to evaluate the feasibility and potential growth of innovative products.
What are the major trends and innovation areas in the food and beverages start-up world?
Here are some of the major trends per category
Green technology, waste reduction, upcycling raw materials, nano-bio materials with food applications, biodegradable packaging, small-scale agriculture, green automation, spoilage sensors, tracking systems, IT control systems etc.
Comfort food, healthy and flavourful food, allergen-free alternative, clean label product, easy to make home meals, fancy pet food, global mainstream flavours, personalized food (hot, mild, plain).
Can you explain the importance of this competition and how it can help start-ups?
It’s crucial that innovators have a platform where they can present their novel concepts to a network of experts, in order to better identify challenges and opportunities, that they can then tackle or leverage for increased success.
Do not miss out on this year’s Pitch Competition happening live at the Palais des congrès de Montreal on April 20th, 2022, from 10am to 1h30pm. Rendezvous at La Cuisine By SIAL, booth number 1421 for engaging and dynamic content! Register now : Register for SIAL Canada - get your badge now!