Nutrition and Culinary students turn snack bars square

“The combination of food scientists and chefs is really appealing,” says nutritionist and snack entrepreneur MaryAnn Scandiffio, explaining why she brought her “Square Snacks” concept to George Brown’s Culinary Studio.

Scandiffio approached the Culinary Studio to turn her recipes for healthy snack bars into two lines of tasty, shelf-stable commercial products, the Digestive Square and the 3:00 pm Square.
Under the leadership of professors Winnie Chiu and Moira Cockburn, students from Food and Nutrition Management program developed and tested recipes first in small, then in larger, commercial batches. For student lead Lara Rootenberg, this was the most exciting part of the project. “We went from doing 500g batches in the lab to producing 7kg and 10kg batches on site.”

For Rootenberg, the biggest challenge was “trying to find a balance between MaryAnn [Scandiffio]’s specifications for taste and flavours while still being within her nutritional targets.” As far as Scandiffio is concerned, students met that challenge. She is thrilled with the results of her collaboration with the Culinary Studio. “The snacks are amazing!” she exclaims. “Even my teenagers love them.”

The bars are “25 gram squares, 100 calories, and extremely satisfying,” says Scandiffio. Digestive Squares cater to consumers with specific digestive difficulties such as colitis or morning sickness. The 3:00 pm Squares offer consumers, in Scandiffio’s words, “a healthy and satisfying answer to that mid-afternoon craving.” This fall, look for Square Snacks at your local grocery and health food stores.