Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

December 15, 2014 09:58 ET

The Researcher Elves Behind Your Merry Feast

From virgin beer to decadent caviar, Canadian researchers are adding their own flavour to food and drink and making holiday meals more sumptuous with science

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 15, 2014) - This festive season, designated drivers, expectant mothers and those who wish to avoid drinking alcohol have a new alternative to orange juice and soda. In 2012, MADD Virgin Drinks, a line of alcohol-free drinks produced under licence to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), partnered up with Niagara College's Canadian Food & Wine Institute to develop the best-tasting virgin beer around. Forget lime-flavoured beer, MADD wanted to offer customers a real treat - a delicious alcohol-free craft lager. Well, they succeeded. This past April, MADD manufactured its first batch of Virgin Craft Brewed Lager, and recently won the top prize in their category at the U.S. Open Beer Championships.

This is one example of how researchers funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation are helping food and drink companies stay competitive. Below are three more researchers who can speak to how some of the ingredients in your holiday meals might be the result of world-class research.

- When Target Marine Hatcheries, a B.C. seafood producer, saw the opportunity to fill the gap in a dwindling sturgeon roe supply, the company turned to Don Tillapaugh and his team at Vancouver Island University's International Centre for Sturgeon Studies for their expertise in this great fish. Tillapaugh can speak to the importance of bringing back sturgeon populations around the world and how he and his team successfully supplied Target Marine Hatcheries with its first generation of white sturgeon - some of which have matured and are producing the hatchery's award-winning Northern Divine caviar.

- Instead of roasting your carrots with maple syrup this year, try apple syrup from Quebec-based Les Vergers Cataphard, a family-run apple producer. The small business collaborated with Hassan Chadjaa at Collège Shawinigan to figure out a way to turn spoiled apples into a low-glucose syrup for diabetics and health conscious people. Chadjaa can speak to his research in biotechnologies and recovering by-products, and how it helped make this collaboration a sweet success.

- When Manitoba-based Shape Foods wanted to figure out how to extend the shelf life of its flaxseed oil and avoid a fishy taste that developed after nine months, it turned to Oleg Krokhin of the University of Manitoba. Krokhin can speak to his work in bio-separation techniques and how he found the culprit molecule that was keeping Shape Food's flaxseed product off of major grocery store shelves.

For additional food- and drink-related research stories, images, video and audio contact our media relations specialists listed below.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada's universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world's top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit

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