BCIT hosts Pitch and Plate to foster innovation in BC’s food industry

Trish Pekeles BCIT Chief Financial Officer with the Honourable Pam Alexis from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food

The BCIT commitment to fostering innovation in the food industry was on full display last week as the Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) and BCIT Corporate Services, in collaboration with Feed BC and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, hosted the seventh annual Pitch and Plate event at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.

Pitch and Plate is an annual event that follows a Dragon’s Den style format and aims to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship in the food sector. BCIT has been a committed supporter of Feed BC’s initiatives for the past six years, furthering its dedication to advancing sustainable practices in sourcing and promoting BC-made food products.

The Honourable Pam Alexis from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food attended and joined the panel of judges who had the pleasure of sampling a diverse array of products while listening to innovative pitches from local food and beverage processors. Audience participation was key, with attendees actively voting for their favorite pitches and providing invaluable feedback to the presenters.

The innovative pitches were made even better by the coaching sessions and training provided prior to the event by Good to Grow Natural Products Coaching. These coaching sessions prepared each business for this event and enhanced their readiness for the institute food service market. This added dimension underscores the event’s practicality – offering practical support to budding entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Event attendees had a great time learning about these amazing BC businesses and were thoroughly impressed by the winning company, Living Tree Foods Ltd., and their delicious plant-based Basil Ricotta Ravioli.

Beyond the Pitch and Plate event, BCIT’s commitment to sustainability in the food sector extends across various fronts. The Institute, in collaboration with BCIT foodservice provider Chartwells, has surpassed its Feed BC procurement target goal of 30%, showcasing a range of locally sourced food products on campus. This not only bolsters the economic resilience of the food sector but also strengthens partnerships with government and industry, contributing to the overall economic growth within BC.

“This event supports the economic resilience of the food sector and it also strengthens partnerships with government and industry towards the economic growth within BC aligning seamlessly with the Institute’s broader mission of sustainability and community engagement,” says event co-host Jordan Castillo, Manager, BCIT Corporate Services, Operations and Revenue.

NRG plays a pivotal role in supporting the food and beverage sector by assisting processors in innovating and commercializing new products. Home to industry-leading facilities like the Food Research and Evaluation for Safety and Health (FRESH) Lab and the Phytoanalytics Lab, NRG is well-positioned to provide the expertise needed to support and grow BC’s food and beverage sector.

Highlighting the event’s significance in connecting local producers with partners in the food industry, Hong Sy, Research Associate with BCIT NRG noted, “This event provides an opportunity for BC food processors to showcase their products to the institutional food service market, including health authorities, post-secondary institutions, and retail market channels.”

In addition to providing a platform for showcasing innovation, the Pitch and Plate event serves as a catalyst for driving positive change and fostering growth within the food industry. Collaborations between key partners such as Feed BC, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and BCIT are pivotal for the continued success of local food and beverage processors.

Photos courtesy of Good to Grow.

About NRG

BCIT Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) addresses issues of product quality, process improvement, and human health using basic and applied science along with state of the art technology. The goal of NRG is to ensure that all Canadians can achieve the potential health and economic benefits offered by medicinal plants, natural health products and the food industry.

For more information, please contact Hong Sy.

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