Food Product Development

Alberta’s $50 billion food industry is a significant contributor to economic activity in the province, which includes:

  • primary producers
  • ingredient manufacturers
  • food and beverage processors
  • food service organizations
  • retailers
  • equipment suppliers

Companies in the industry face intense pressure to quickly and effectively develop innovative and new concepts and products that meet changing consumer and customer demands.

Learn more about the NAIT applied research centres doing work in this area:

Plant-based foods

Plant-based foods and meat alternatives are becoming increasingly popular, driven by consumer behaviours and expectations. The challenges for industry in developing plant-based foods include texture, appearance, and flavour. 

Learn how NAIT is working with industry to apply novel ingredients and develop new techniques, creating foods that taste amazing, leading to enhanced food experiences:

How scientists make plant-based food taste and look more like meat

Looking at the science behind plant-based and cultured meat

6 things to know about eating less meat and more plant-based foods

Is meatless meat better for you than the real thing?

8 questions about plant-based foods with a NAIT research chef

How researchers are transforming Alberta oats into tasty, innovative products.

NAIT researcher makes healthier ice cream using barley and lentil protein


The Canadian plant-based protein industry is in a prime position to lead the world market. The challenge for industry, however, is developing innovative ways to process crops such as pulses into high-value ingredients.  

NAIT is working with industry to develop pre-competitive formulations of fermented, pulse-based, flavour ingredients using Alberta grown pulses and grains.

These ingredients will be similar to miso, but offer additional value, as they are allergen-free and gluten-free. 

The development of miso alternatives will benefit companies developing new savoury food products. These products and flavours demonstrate novel ingredient usage in food applications. 

Repurposing agriculture and food waste

Canada is expected to become a dominant global player in the plant protein market, particularly the production and fractionation of plant-based proteins.  

The challenge is that the plant proteins industry generates large amounts of starch by-products that are often landfilled at cost or converted into low-value products. As part of the food circularity, industry is looking to increase their environmental performance while supporting a low carbon economy.

NAIT will be working with industry partners to characterize the starch by-products and develop new processes to transform them into a variety of value-added products, such as biofuels, biochemicals or food ingredients. 

Nutrition and health

Eating well can be challenging for today’s consumers as they look to find a balance between appropriate nutrition, convenience, taste, and affordability. 

NAIT is partnering with industry to develop food products that meet the requirements of the Food Directorate of Health Canada, and novel ingredients that support the reformulation of products to be “free-from” the most common allergens in Canada:‚Äč

  • crustaceans/molluscs
  • eggs
  • fish
  • milk
  • mustard
  • peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • soy
  • sulphites
  • tree nuts
  • wheat