From the Restaurant to Your Kitchen

Scaccia is a family owned Italian restaurant in downtown Toronto. Their signature dish is the “scaccia” itself – a variety of delicious, healthy vegetables, cheeses, and meats placed between two layers of dough and baked to perfection.

Looking to break into the ready-made market, Scaccia restaurant came to George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt) to develop a frozen microwaveable version of their scaccia sandwich. The product had to be individually portioned for the food service industry, nutritionally responsible, and as tasty as the original.

College researchers worked closely with Scaccia owners and head chef throughout the development process for four popular scaccia flavors. The FIRSt team evaluated Scaccia’s restaurant ingredients and matched them with commercially viable options able to withstand freeze/thaw cycles.

In addition to sourcing special freezing technologies, the research team also developed a unique sauce system to ensure fillings were contained within the open-sided sandwich. After 24 months, and more than 60 iterations of sauces, fillings and Italian style dough using a variety of preparation processes, Scaccia was given four formulations and product specifications to take to a co-manufacturer, complete with sensory evaluations.

Through an additional collaboration with George Brown School of Business students, the product was tested on location at Scaccia Restaurant to get customer feedback on this new sandwich. This gave the company valuable consumer insights to develop the right marketing strategy for this innovative food product.

Industry: Food

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