Canadian Food & Wine Institution Innovation Centre
Dr. Ana Cristina Vega Lugo
Accompanying entrepreneurs in designing new food products, package and preserve them to ensure a long shelf life
|Type of Researcher|
|Introduce yourself, your experience and your credentials||
Dr. Ana Cristina Vega Lugo is the Senior Food Scientist for the Canadian Food & Wine Institution Innovation Centre, part of the Research & Innovation Division at the College. Ana Cristina is responsible for managing the research/student team and resources required for all product and process innovation, food safety, analytical lab and label compliance services, and other technical service and applied research activities. A trained food engineer and scientist with a PhD degree in food science, Ana Cristina has 10 years’ experience in food science and commercialization, including in development, troubleshooting and applicable packaging science and technology. Her most recent position was with Hela Spice Canada as a senior product developer.
|Describe your research||
We are here to support the food industry to help them overcome any challenges they have. Because the research we do here is driven by the industry any challenge they have, we’re going help them. We’re going meet the new challenge because our projects are applied research projects driven by the industry.
For example: product development. We have here culinary skills as well as scientific tools that help us overcome the problems. We also have them with regulatory and labeling. Someone doesn’t know what to put on the label’s nutrition fact table or what kind of claims they can make. We are here to help them.
Also we have a shelf life studies what kind of packaging, what materials, what kind of equipment do I need to invest in. We are here to help them. Also we’re here to support small start-up companies that have very great ideas but they don’t know how to launch it, how to commercialize it, where to start. We are here to help them.
|Explain its significance||
It’s relevant because we help the food industry overcome challenges that they currently have for example we have a project with a company that wanted to improve the flavor of the product they wanted to incorporate a cricket protein a cricket flour into their sauce, but they wanted to improve the flavor.
Here, we have the culinary skills and the scientific tools to help them with this. We’re currently helping another client with shelf life studies. This client has a very innovative product: gluten-free cookies low in sugar. So we’ll help them because every single product behaves differently. We have to taste what kind of packaging is going to work better for your product.
Also we’re helping them with the kind of preservatives, natural preservatives, because nowadays the food trends are to be clean label, no preservatives or natural preservatives. That’s what the consumers are asking us for, that’s how the food industry is driven. That’s how our research now.
So how can we make our product safe, delicious and with a long shelf life. That’s what we’re working on. We also work on beverage we have an Anton-Paar that we can we can analyze beverage alcohol, CO2, turbidity. We are combining culinary skills experts in order to help our industry to solve problems.
Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada
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