On Monday December 6th we hosted our 1st team lead webinar titled “ An Introduction to BIA” where we introduced and showcased the campus, the team at BIA, and services available. This was followed by an informative Q&A at the end which is listed below for reference.
Elaine Donohue, the General Manager at BIA, introduced us to the campus, and she re-capped the journey from the beginning to where we are now, where the idea and the concept for the campus came from, and how that was actualised. Elaine spoke about the wrap-around supports available through our partnerships with such agencies as Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland, which is supported by our team of experts with their extensive in-depth experience in the food industry.
Sandra Regan who is our Food Sector Project Manager, introduced us to the types of business that may want to get in touch. She emphasised that BIA was open to all food sector business at all stages of operation and that the “list was endless”. Sandra then walked us through the process of getting in touch and how you can access our “expression of interest” form and how best to summit it. This process can be referenced in the video posted below.
Then it was then time to “Get Technical” as we met with our Food Technologist, first with Colm Foley, who offers a diverse and rich background in recipe formulation, new product development, and food safety & quality management. Colm walked us through the areas in which our Food Technologist can support campus users and the variety of units that are available here on-site at BIA.
Ed O’Neill from Ed O’Neill Solutions (former Artisan Food Specialist at Teagasc) walked us through a case study where we were able to see first-hand how he helped a women develop a “kid friendly” low-sugar ketchup to be sold in Irish market. Ed went through the process of developing a new product with a specific dietary goal in mind. It was interesting to hear of the importance of balanced ingredients in relation to taste and shelf-life. He also touched on some of the unique equipment we have to offer on-site and the services himself, and our team of experts have to offer. wefirst
Here's a look at the information session from the webinar
After the information session we opened the floor to a Q&A where a selection of questions were asked to our team of panelist: Ed O’Neill, Colm Foley & Sandra Regan and Emilia Furey.
Here is a look at the Q&A
Q: Can you elaborate a little bit more on the process after the Expression of Interest Form is completed?
A: Yes, If you go to biainnovatorcampus.ie and scroll down to the “Expression of Interest” button, you can click there and download a document which you can fill out as best as possible and send back to us at email@example.com . We can then connect and get you on a call and help guide you through to your next step.
Q: Do I already need to be a registered food business to use the campus?
A: There are two answers to this questions. 1) if you do plan to make this product available to the public, then yes you do need to be a registered food business. We can guide you through this process and help you identify what’s required. 2) If you intend to start a new product development project (similar to the product Ed mentioned in the video) then you do not need to be registered, however this product cannot be made available to the public.
Q: I have started a business recently but I find it hard getting to grips with the food safety and HACCP records. Can your technologists help with this?
A: Depending on what you need, we can perform a full review of your food safety management system, conduct a gap analysis, or create a HACCP manual relevant to your operations. We can provide you with templates of records as well. A full range of services and supports are available on site.
Q: Can I bring my own equipment onsite?
A: You can, you just have to have it approved from the team first.
Q: Do you do food safety training at the campus?
A: We do as part of our induction process. Included in this would be full training on how to use certain equipment and how they should be properly operated, broken down, cleaned, and reassembled. Along with training on the safe and proper use of chemicals on site. We will require users to have relevant certified food safety training.
Q: You mention Dairy, Meat, Seafood but is there any room for vegetarian or vegan products in BIA?
A: Absolutely, the facility is designed so that any individual can use any of our units. You could manufacture a soft dairy cheese then move on to work on a vegan cheese at a later date as an extensive clean down is done in-between each production to eliminate any danger of cross-contamination.
Q: There is a lot of talk about packaging and reducing it. Can you advise on this?
A: Ed is a qualified packaging technologist, and that knowledge is available for clients on site. We would look at specific requirements for each client, look at doing some trials, then discuss and analyse your options from there.
Q: Have you guys fermented beverage equipment for NPD , and if so what volumes?
A: Yes we do 600L batch pasteuriser in the dairy unit. It’s perfect for kefir, yoghurt etc. We also have a smaller 100L kettle which can be used in a similar fashion be it dairy or non-dairy.
Q: Just wondering if you have any thought of purchasing freezing unit, such as blast freezer, individual quick freezer etc?
A: Firstly, each unit has a blast chiller, then the individual co-working units have 2 walk-in chillers, one for goods in and one for goods out. We also have a walk in freezers in the seafood and dairy units.
Q: Hi there, can companies from other/border counties use the facilities?
A: Definitely! We are open to the whole of Ireland if needed.
Q: If staff or students from GMIT have an idea for a food product or service, can I refer them to BIA for a consult or mentoring? What services can they expect?
A: Yes, because they would be like anyone else who would come to us with an idea as we have a wide variety of supports and mentors we can connect them with. We are here to help anyone from any stage of their idea process.
Q: when will the units be ready to occupy and what equipment will be available please?
A: Hopefully our own door units will be around the new year, building 1 which is the business engagement zone and co-working units, will hopefully be fully operational early-mid 2022. Delays due to COVID continue to play a big role in this, but we are excited to be getting close to opening the campus. We are hoping to launch some open days in the new year where we can welcome you on-site to meet with us in person to tour the facility and learn more about the campus and services.
Q: Is there a mailing list I can sign up to?
A: To keep in touch and find out the latest and greatest from BIA Innovator Campus click the link below to sign up for our mailing list here http://eepurl.com/hO2SJH
If you would like any more information about BIA Innovator Campus please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would love to hear from you!