Ottawa company delivers ice cream bliss – without the guilt
Guelph - If you love ice cream, but can’t handle the lactose – and don’t want the sugar high – your rich and creamy summer treat has arrived.
Candace Tierney, founder and CEO of Ottawa-based Oat & Mill, has made her oat-based non-dairy frozen desserts even healthier through a research funded by the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre's (ATCC) Accelerating Innovative Research (AIR) Program.
Delivered by Bioenterprise Corporation, the AIR Program is helping innovative Ontario companies introduce new products and strengthen their position in the marketplace. A total of $510,000 was granted last fall to 13 companies that each received between $30,000 - $50,000 to commercialize innovations, enhance competitiveness and strengthen Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sectors. (See below for a list of AIR funding recipients.)
Oat & Mill received $30,000 for research that led to a new formulation that cut the amount of sugar in its products by as much as half – to as little as 10g of sugar per serving for some flavours.
The dairy-free, vegan, organic – and newly low-sugar, naturally sweetened treats – are now available at specialty shops and grocery stores in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in six flavours.
Optimizing the product formulation not only made the product healthier, Tierney says, it improved the entire manufacturing process and reduced waste by nearly 10 per cent.
“Making ice cream is a science,” she says, explaining that sugar is a natural antifreeze and low-sugar products often suffer in terms of taste and texture. A scan of the marketplace had revealed that other low-sugar options were sweetened artificially – opening the door for the all-natural alternative Oat & Mill has delivered.
The AIR funding was critical to the success of the project, Tierney says, allowing her to launch the new products across Canada, double her staff to a total of six and develop an efficient system for faster development of future Oat & Mill products.
Recipients of innovation grants announced by Bioenterprise in December 2017 to support emerging Ontario research-based technologies include:
Escarpment Laboratories, Guelph
Nature’s Wave Inc., Milverton
The Chufa Co.,Toronto
Local Line Inc., Kitchener
Beef Improvement Ontario (BIO) / AgSights, Elora
Mirexus Biotechnologies Inc., Guelph
Club Coffee LP, Toronto
VIVE Crop Protection Inc., Mississauga
Crazy D’s Soda Labs, Toronto
Transport Genie Ltd., Guelph
Western University, London
Conestoga College, Kitchener