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Can you handle the heat?!

New owners of Susan's Hot Mustard ride the hot seat to find new formulation.

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 thrilled to become the new owners.

Even though Denise was new to the industry and had no prior knowledge working in this sector, she had confidence in the product, as it had been manufactured and packaged at the same location for years. Susan's Hot Mustard has supplied hot mustard to customers since the 1970s. Shortly afterwards, however, a manufacturing tragedy struck! The co-manufacturer of their hot mustard could no longer produce the product. The issue for Denise was that the company she purchased did not have a copy of the mustard recipe on file, leaving Denise with a major challenge as the business owner.

Learn more about the project below.

The Challenge

Duplicating the recipe from the remaining product they had on hand, translating it into something they could make themselves, and finding a new co-packer seemed an insurmountable task. Denise found the Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) on the George Brown website as a final attempt to save the recipe and investment. Denise thought, "Here is a group of people experienced in recipe formulation, product evaluation, and the food industry that could help us save our mustard!"

The GBC Solution

Denise approached FIRSt to review the current formulation of the product and conceptualize new formulations, including the sourcing of alternative ingredients to replace in-house ingredients. FIRSt identified and evaluated the current product's traits and suggested alternative ingredients and processes to achieve the original product that Denise initially fell in love with.

Emily Lim, Junior Food Scientist at FIRSt, said the best moments for her while working on the project included "successfully reverse-engineering the formula from scratch, and learning about mustard processing to develop the new mustard for the client."

The Result

Samples of Emily's work were delivered to Denise's door. The tasting process was simplified by the excellent evaluation forms, which led Denise to visit the tasting kitchen and meet all the amazing, enthusiastic people behind the scenes.

Denise found the whole project from start to finish a "fantastic experience." From the onset, the contract and payment schedules that were developed eliminated all concerns regarding project deadlines and over costs. "The enthusiasm of the FIRSt team members was so exciting, and I felt the passion FIRSt had for this product, just like I did." It didn't just stop at mustard production! "FIRSt introduced our team to Will, from Rootham Gourmet Preserves, and we toured his co-manufacturing facility and began negotiating terms for producing our newly formulated Susan's Hot Mustard."

"Now we're looking forward to stopping into FIRSt with the final product, but of course, only for those who can handle the HEAT!" With her new product—after such a challenging start—it's obvious that Denise did.