Client Projects

From the start, Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK) has worked to meet two objectives. The first is to work with industry to solve innovation challenges and increase the economic opportunities and prosperity of the companies we work with. The second is to engage students and instructors on industry-initiated applied research projects that enhance their knowledge and experience within an ever-changing industry landscape.

This section outlines the variety of ways PRK’s Culinary Research team has engaged over the past eight years with Western Canadian companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to fulfill these objectives. Each story presented here demonstrates how our team used the knowledge and technology available in our labs to meet a client’s vision. In some cases, new prototypes were created and commercialized. In others, the client sought our help in seeking out new applications for an existing ingredient to enhance the consumer experience and meet new market demands.

The complexity of these projects is as varied as the products we develop or work with. Most projects engaged students in research and recipe development; many of these students had never developed a prototype or recipe from scratch, nor had they used such unique ingredients before. 

Early on, we added a student-led recipe development program to bridge academic learning objectives with the needs of our industry partners, who frequently seek ways to showcase their products in consumer or food service-friendly recipes. Developing recipes or formulations is often the first step in prototyping, although the complexity differs from product to product. 

These recipe development projects have provided unique opportunities for students in RRC Polytech’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs to gain experience in a functioning research kitchen, where they learn how to convert and standardize their recipes, read and create spreadsheets, and use nutrition and formulation software to understand the nutritional profiles of the foods they create. Students are also taught how to apply research principles to the recipe development process. At the final stage of each project, RRC Polytech photography students are brought in to hone their skills in the challenging discipline of food and product photography. 

Many of the projects featured in this section benefitted from the support of the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), which helps SMEs move through the innovation continuum from research and development to commercialization.

All recipes featured in this section have been approved for publication by the companies they were developed for.