Explore our client stories below - just a small taste of our delicious research.
Two Bears Coffee
As more consumers explore plant-based alternatives, oat milk is in high demand. With a shortage across the industry, Two Bears Coffee needed a reliable source for their signature product—a line of flash-brewed, vegan Oat Milk Lattes (sold in cans). They came to FIRSt to develop their own proprietary blend of oat milk that can be produced in-house. But the big challenge in producing oat milk is the gelatinization temperatures of oats—the same quality that makes oats into a delicious porridge every morning also makes processing very difficult as the oats become thick.
Muul, a Toronto-based company, makes a unique hybrid beverage fusing coffee and tea leaves, produced in small batches for home use. With Muul’s push for innovation in the tea and coffee industry, they came to FIRSt to cultivate a benchtop formulation and ingredient sourcing using less artificial flavours.
Dual Circle Ltd.
Consumers are looking for products that are functional and can help them hit macronutrient targets. Entrepreneur Matt Moore of Dual Circle Limited saw an opportunity and approached FIRSt to create a line of water-soluble protein effervescent sachets with unique flavours, vegan, low in sugar that is Canadian sourced.
Ahimsa Snacks (also known as Dear Snackers) saw an opportunity to introduce the makhana—a popular Indian snack made from popped water lily seeds– into the Canadian market. The company came to FIRSt to develop three new flavours and a formulation that could bring this idea to life.
Colorectal Cancer Canada
Hoping to inspire a meaningful change around how people manage their diet, Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC) came to FIRSt to create recipes that promote cancer-fighting ingredients, find protein alternatives beyond red meat, and, most importantly, were simple to make but complex in flavour.
Hero Ice Cream
Founded by former chef Jason Cherun, Hero Ice Cream prides itself on making “real” ice cream made with fresh all-natural Ontario cream, without additives or unpronounceable ingredients. Building on a previous project to perfect a protein-enriched Vanilla Bean ice cream, Hero Ice Cream wanted to develop three new flavours: Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Chocolate, and Salted Caramel.
SoCIAL LITE had a goal to introduce three new flavours to its lineup and approached FIRSt, who worked through a full development process that included concept development, plant manufacturing, shelf-life monitoring, market research and consumer testing to evaluate 100 flavours on the path to approving the final prototypes.
In the last few years, kale, with its attractive low calorie, high fibre benefits, has exploded in popularity as a versatile superfood. In December 2016, The Healthy Crunch Company came to George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) to investigate their facility layout and kale chip packaging to find ways of improving their product and its shelf-life.
Nuba contacted FIRSt to collaborate in the development, optimization and commercialization of their novel, ready-to-drink beverages. Amal Soliman, the owner of Nuba, grew up drinking the tea in her home country of Egypt and saw an opportunity to reinvent the tart, red-hued drink for a North American palette.
Susan's Hot Mustard
Denise Lorenz has an appetite for hot mustard. So much in fact that she decided to buy Susan’s Hot Mustard with her husband. They had enjoyed this product for years and were absolutely thrilled to become the new owners.
Entotritious Inc. approached George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) to refine three ‘energy bar’ products – known as JUMP Bars! With the help of both FIRSt and public focus groups, Entotritious created a product line that picks up energy levels and provides a plentiful and sustainable source of protein using cricket flour!
Everspring Farm approached FIRSt for help further commercializing their line of consumer-friendly, healthy, tasty and innovative baking mixes using sprouted seeds to be sold as retail packaged products. Each of the blends had to hit a high bar that included being a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein content, carbohydrate content and GMO-free.
Nona Vegan Foods
Awareness of the vegan lifestyle has been rising since the early 2000s, and the market has responded accordingly: Toronto’s streets are lined with vegan cupcake and raw food bars. But eating wholesome, balanced meals day to day can still be a challenge. NONA Vegan Foods, a Toronto SME, was founded by Kailey Gilchrist, a longtime vegan to accommodate the often challenging act of balancing a nourishing vegan diet with hectic schedules and busy days.
Manitoulin Chocolate Works
Manitoulin Chocolate Works (MCW) approached FIRSt for help optimizing the manufacturing process of the company’s chocolate and caramel sauces. Working remotely from Toronto with MCW, FIRSt tested product quality, food safety, theoretical nutritional analysis and made equipment recommendations.
When Imago Restaurants needed the formula for the rhubarb chutney to be just right, they came to George Brown College’s Food Innovation & Research Studio (FIRSt). The FIRSt team helped to develop a gold standard recipe, which means that the taste, texture and cooking method is standard across all restaurants.
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
It’s imperative to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) that families with children dealing with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) have recipes and menu plans to continue their challenging dietary treatment at home.
Guelph Family Health Study
“Snack Healthy, Snack Happy.” That was the mindset that went into creating a cookbook of the same name, Snack Healthy Snack Happy, an installment in the Family Friendly Recipes Cookbook Series released by the Guelph Family Health Study.
Tropix, a Toronto food company, specializes in coconut drops: a delicious Jamaican cuisine treat also known as cut cake, which is made by combining chopped coconut, ginger and brown sugar. Tropix coconut drops are handmade in small batches using the best quality ingredients.
Hermanos Gazpachos has a goal to share a love of gazpacho on an industrial scale without compromising flavour or taste. Working with the Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt), they created two new contemporary offerings for consumers to enjoy in a travel-friendly bottle.
County Yum Club
More consumers want healthier, more natural beverage options. To corner this growing shift, Ontario-based SME County Yum Club (CYC) had their own idea of what would make a refreshing treat. They envisioned an all-natural beverage, sourced with local ingredients from Prince Edward County, the Quinte region and Ontario.
Las Reinas—which translates from Spanish to ‘the queens”—is a Toronto-based start-up and Latin-inspired food products brand, which focuses on offering healthy ready-to-eat and pantry products.
With demand for Embrace Food’s gluten-free quinoa cookies and bars growing rapidly, founder Anastasia MacLean realized she needed more than just a bigger kitchen. She needed the expertise of the food scientists at FIRSt.
Live Well with Parkinson's
Founder of Live Well with Parkinson’s, Dr. Galit Kleiner-Fisman knows that eating the right foods can help people with PD live better, but she also recognized the challenge patients face every day. FIRSt offered the experienced professionals and state-of-the-art facilities that Kleiner-Fisman needed.
Create three recipes using granola. If that sounds easy, consider that all recipes need to be free of gluten, soy, and corn. Then imagine that the recipes must be easy to reproduce, a cinch to make at home, with a simple ingredient list. Kimberley’s Own, a Toronto-based start-up company that produces vegan, gluten-free, pure oat-based granola, came to George Brown’s Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) for recipes to promote the versatility of its granola line.
In the name of science and health, 120 GBC students, staff, and faculty bravely volunteered to eat an overwhelming amount of pizza—topped with Vitamin D fortified mozzarella. These volunteers formed part of a study conducted by University of Toronto (U of T) in collaboration with George Brown College’s Food Innovation & Research Studio (FIRSt).
Zprit Infuzed Water
Toronto-based company Zpirit is aiming to make healthy beverages hip again with their infused water. Inspired by a European tradition to preserve fruit throughout the winter through multi-stage filtered water, the company created a unique beverage low in sugar and calories: Zpirit Infuzed Water.