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National 2013 Mission ImPULSEible Event a True Product Development Battle (PCN Fall 2013) OCT 21 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Competition at the 2013 Mission ImPULSEible event held in Toronto on August 21, 2013 left Alberta product development team out of the winner’s circle for this year. Despite a terrific presentation and unique video showcasing simple product directions for Chizza, a pourable pizza crust targeted for the gluten-free market, the judges were not on Alberta’s side for the final awards.

Alberta’s offering was created by University of Alberta students Anastaissia Astrakhantseva and Karen Ting. Chizza’s uniqueness catapulted the team to win the Alberta competition in March 2013. Following their win, the students worked with Alberta Pulse Growers and Leduc Food Processing Development Centre staff to further refine their product in preparation for the national competition.

The national competition was to take place in Calgary at the Canadian Special Crops Association conference in June, but the conference was cancelled, and an alternate date enabled students to compete nationally in Toronto. Held in conjunction with a Pulse Canada workshop involving researchers, food companies, and industry looking at functional structural health claims, the competition allowed processing sector research and development staff from companies like General Mills, Sabra, Pepsico, and others to engage students and taste the creativity in their new products.

“It was super to have the R&D staff from large multinationals see the innovation of products and enthusiasm of the students,” said APG Executive Director Leanne Fischbuch. “Presentations were polished, posters were prepared, and the products were available for tasting, which really added to the event.”

There were six teams participating from across Canada: University of British Columbia with Bean n’Butter, a dry bean spread; University of Alberta with Chizza, a pourable pizza dough; University of Saskatchewan with Pummy, a lentil flour and flake fruit cookie; University of Manitoba with “Ice Cream” Sandwich, a lentil cookie with a frozen soy dessert sandwiched in the middle; University of Guelph with NutraSnap, a lentil cracker with three different types of seasoning; and the Culinary Institute of Canada in PEI representatives with VegaMax, a vegan chickpea protein flavoured beverage.

Taking home third prize was Bean n’Butter, second was VegaMax, and finally, the winners of the 2013 competition were NutraSnap, with an almost market-ready lentil cracker. Top teams emphasized the analysis of pricing and how their products would stack up against similar products on the market, discussed sustainability of the packaging choices and through the use of pulse crops in their product, and finally just showcased the best products among a strong field.

Judges included Sherry Casey, Senior Director Regulatory Affairs, Loblaw Companies Ltd.; Subra Balakrishnan, Corporate Chef at Griffith Laboratories; and Pulse Canada’s CEO Gordon Bacon. Winners received cash awards sponsored by the provincial grower groups. Pulse Canada coordinates Mission ImPULSEible on a yearly basis, and this year was the fifth year of the competition.