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 Oat & Mill, has made her oat-based non-dairy frozen desserts even healthier through research funded by the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre's (ATCC) Accelerating Innovative Research (AIR) Program, delivered by Bioenterprise Corporation.
Oat & Mill received $30,000 last fall for a research project that led to a new formulation that cut the amount of cane 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.
“Through lowering the freezing point of the product we saw unexpected results of increased efficiency in manufacturing."
“Making ice cream is a science,” she added, 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.
Oat & Mill was one of 13 recipients of innovation grants announced by Bioenterprise in December 2017 in to support emerging Ontario research-based technologies. The grants aim to advance commercialization of innovations, enhance competitiveness, and strengthen the leadership position of Ontario in the agriculture and agri-food sectors. The AIR Program was funded by Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.