McGill University to Open Food Lab

Montreal’s McGill University will open a new culinary and product development facility in January that is expected to be the first to offer all the components needed to develop a new food product, according to a faculty member.

There are a lot of challenges facing industry in developing a new food product today.

–Salwa Karboune, PhD, McGill University

Located in McGill’s Centennial Centre, the culinary facility will cost approximately $4 million and will include two food preparation labs, a food sensory-testing lab, and a camera-ready demonstration classroom designed to host television programs and instructional videos. The food preparation labs include the latest culinary technology, such as high-volume programmable ovens, a blast-chill refrigerator, and walk-in cold rooms and freezers.

McGill hopes to partner extensively with industry once the lab is open.

“There are a lot of challenges facing industry in developing a new food product today,” said Salwa Karboune, PhD, assistant professor in the department of food science and agricultural chemistry at McGill. “Renewing and refreshing the products on the shelves is difficult when you consider that there is a very high failure rate for any new product, ranging from about 40% to 80%. So one has to make sure when putting out a new product that it has the best chance of being successful.”

The new facility, she said, offers the opportunity to develop products from a consumer perspective, with facilities available for focus groups to analyze new foods.

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