A virtual gathering focused on collaboration, innovation and inspiration.

October 7, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m

Seizing new business opportunities in the health food ingredients sector

How does COVID-19 influence food supply and eating habits? This first edition of BÉNÉFIQ Webinars will draw a global picture of the current situation, allowing us to avail the business opportunities generated by these transformations.

Let yourself be inspired by examples of successful collaborations between academics and industrial partners; and between smaller and larger companies, all operating at the service of innovation and competitiveness.

These webinars are aimed at companies, scientists and any other players in the ecosystem of biofood and nutrition innovation.


Provisional program

October 7, 2020, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m


Greetings and opening words

Mrs. Renée Michaud, Co-President BÉNÉFIQ2021, Executive Director of INAF, Université Laval and Mr. André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec Region

Renée Michaud, Co-President BÉNÉFIQ2021, Executive Director of INAF, Université Laval

Renée Michaud is the Executive Director of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF) at Université Laval. A graduate of the latter in bioagronomy and holder of a master’s degree in plant biology, Ms. Michaud has been with the Institute since its creation in 2000. Today, she remains as passionate and committed as ever to stimulate the growth of this internationally renowned Institute. As a leader, she has launched numerous actions to increase tenfold the impact of research spin-offs in the high-priority areas of biofood, nutrition and health. INAF brings together more than 600 Quebec scientists working across sectors to develop a sustainable food system and improve the health of populations. An international leader, INAF generates a research budget of more than $27M per year, of which nearly 40% of the research budget is the result of a partnership with the private sector. Ms. Michaud sits on several boards of directors and committees at Université Laval and in the community, including the TransBiotech collegial technology transfer center, the AgBiocentre and Mycelium incubators and the INITIA Foundation. She is the co-initiator and co-president of the international event BÉNÉFIQ.

André Lamontagne, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec Region

Born in Saint-Félicien in 1960, André Lamontagne holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Université Laval and has a training in counselling, psychotherapy and transactional analysis from the East Wind Institute in Halifax. He also holds a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Human Relations from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax. He is also a licensed professional helicopter pilot.
Prior to joining politics, he had a career in the business world: he owned three supermarkets, co-owned a travel agency network of 20 offices throughout Quebec; presided and co-owned a management consulting firm and owned a company specializing in the purchase, refurbishment, resale and lease of helicopters.
He has worked as an advisor and coach for executives from the business community. Over the years, he has also been an investor and administrator of several technology companies in the manufacturing, e-commerce and industrial sectors.
In 2014, he made the leap into politics by being elected in the Johnson riding under the banner of the Coalition Avenir Québec, a role he has held since his re-election in 2018. It was following this victory that the Prime Minister appointed him Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) and Minister Responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region.


Creating added value in the era of COVID-19: how to innovate in the food sector while taking into account new consumer realities?

Laure Saulais, Research Professor, Department of Agri-Food Economics and Consumer Sciences, FSAA, Université Laval, researcher member of the NUTRISS Centre, INAF

Laure Saulais is an associate professor in the Department of Agri-Food Economics and Consumer Sciences at Université Laval. Specialized in behavioural and experimental economics, she conducts research on consumer food purchases. In particular, she studies consumer responses to agri-food innovation, as well as consumer decision making in constantly changing purchasing environments. She is a food engineer (AgroParisTech, France) and holds a PhD in Economics (University of Grenoble). She has nearly ten years of experience at the Research Center of the Institut Paul Bocuse in France, where she led research on the place of healthy and sustainable food in consumer choices in the context of the restaurant industry.

Webinar description

The unprecedented crisis we are currently experiencing has revealed some of the strengths and weaknesses of the global food system, acting as a catalyst for certain changes. These developments have affected the purchasing habits of consumers and redefined their food priorities. According to public opinion surveys, consumers say that they are more attracted to local products, more health-conscious and more inclined to cook. At the same time, they are facing a disturbed economic environment that has created new constraints, particularly budgetary constraints, which particularly affects the most vulnerable populations. How do these changes affect purchasing behaviour? Is the consumer in the age of COVID-19 really willing to pay more for a healthier, more local, and more sustainable diet? How can we develop high value-added food products in this new context?

Conference developed in collaboration with Sophie De Reynal, Nutrimarketing


Evidence and research data as a lever to innovate and seize new opportunities

Two researchers from the food technology and health sectors will provide examples of new technologies and ingredients of increased interest in the current context. These examples will also illustrate how R&D can play a key role in supporting innovation.

Alain Doyen , Research Professor, Department of Food Sciences, FSAA, Université Laval, Research Member of INAF

After completing his doctoral studies and a postdoctoral fellowship in food science and technology at Université Laval, Alain Doyen was recruited in 2014 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science at Université Laval. He works closely with the NSERC-Novalait Chair in Milk Processing Efficiency, headed by Yves Pouliot. He is a member of the Centre de recherche en science et technologie du lait (STELA), the Institut sur la nutrition et les aliments fonctionnels (INAF) and Director of the latter’s Innovation Support Service. His research program covers the study of membrane fractionation processes, hydrostatic pressurization technologies and the optimization of the efficiency of the concentration and fractionation steps of dairy matrix constituents.

Webinar description

The recent pandemic has shown us that consumer behaviour and social needs can evolve very rapidly. Food consumption has thus been particularly affected by the current health crisis. The type of products requested by consumers and the way they are marketed have both changed. These behaviours have created new needs that should nonetheless to be aligned with prior and still indispensable concerns, such as sustainable development and accessibility of high-quality products. The food processing industry must adapt and respond to these new opportunities by innovating based on new knowledge from scientific research. This conference will address how collaborative research can support these innovation needs from a sustainable and healthy diet point of view by helping the industry rethink foods of desirable nutritional quality and reasonable costs, optimize access, use and showcase local resources, or guarantee product and consumer safety.

André Marette, Research Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, researcher member of IUCPQ and INAF

Dr. André Marette is Professor of Medicine at the Heart and Lung Institute and a member of the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods at Université Laval. He also holds a research Chair on the pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Dr. Marette is an internationally renowned expert on the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and CVD, and his research has advanced our understanding of the physiological and molecular mechanisms of inflammation and opened new possibilities for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and CVD. He is also studying how nutrition and food ingredients can modulate the gut microbiota to protect against obesity-linked intestinal inflammation, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Marette has published over 200 papers, reviews, and book chapters. He has received several awards including the Young Scientist Award of the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Charles Best Award from the University of Toronto for his overall contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the field of diabetes.

Webinar description

Whether it is because overweight subjects are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infections, or because confinement measures have revealed psychological and physical vulnerabilities, the pandemic has made us more aware of the importance health. This collective awareness opens up new niches in the fields of nutrition and supplements aimed at, among others, weight gain, cognitive health, and the maintenance of health with increasing age, etc. In view of the increased concern of consumers regarding their overall health; what should be done or avoided to properly showcase the benefits of certain foods and supplements?


Speech by Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation

Seizing business opportunities through science and innovation

Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation

Pierre Fitzgibbon was born in Montréal.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC) and is a Quebec Chartered Professional Accountant.
Before becoming involved in politics, Mr. Fitzgibbon served as managing partner at Walter Capital Partners, a private equity Firm, between 2015 and 2018.
From 2007 to 2014, Mr. Fitzgibbon assumed the role of president and chief executive officer at Atrium Innovations, a company that develops, manufactures and markets value-added products for the health and nutrition industry.
From 2002 to 2007, he put his skills to work at National Bank Group, where he occupied the position of vice-chairman of National Bank Financial, where he mainly acted as head of investment banking and corporate finance services. He was also senior vice president of finance, technology and corporate affairs at National Bank of Canada.
Previously, Mr. Fitzgibbon also held executive positions in finance, as well as in company and business development at Télésystème Mobiles International, Chase Capital Partners Hong Kong, Domtar and Peerless Carpet Corporation. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in auditing and consulting services.
Over the last few years, Mr. Fitzgibbon has served on several boards of directors, including that of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, WSP, Héroux-Devtek, TC Transcontinental, Cycle Capital Management, Neptune Technologies, Lumenpulse and Arianne Phosphate.
This committed businessman is involved in his community and in several organizations, including until recently, the Fondation du Dr Julien.


Excubation as a model of partnership

11:00 How can a start-up and a larger company develop a successful partnership?
It is now a requirement for most enterprises, no matter the space, to become more open to collaborating with startups. How can companies best leverage the benefits of startups -even in times of crisis?

Sander van der Blonk, Scoutely, Netherlands

Sander heads Scoutely; A selective search and matching site for corporates and startups looking for innovation partnerships in AgriFood and (Deep)Tech. He has two decades of experience as a technology entrepreneur, having started his career in marketing and innovation in the biotech and software industries.

11:30 What are the fears and expectations of the collaborating partners?

Panel : 

Naäk - William Walcker, Co-Founder & CEO

Business description :
Näak is the first sports nutrition designed to meet the energy and recovery needs of endurance athletes with an eco-responsible approach.
William Walcker’s biography :
I am passionate about sports and entrepreneurship. I believe in sport as an important educational vehicle to transmit important values in life and I believe in impact entrepreneurship to make the world a better place.

Malimousse - Daniel Bérubé, Development manager and Hugo Magnan, president

Business description :
Malimousse is a company involved in the processing and marketing of food products composed of emulsions: sauces and dressings, mousse and dips. The company develops products under its own brands as well as under private labels for the HRI, industrial and retail markets. Their values? A human approach, authenticity and passion.
Daniel Bérubé’s biography :
Passionate about food for many years, having worked for several years as a chef and executive chef in various establishments. My desire to pass on my passion and experience led me to take on the role of Corporate Chef at Gordon Food Services. I have been able to advise several restaurant owners on their menus, kitchen operations, and introduce them to products to make their lives easier. I joined Cuisine Malimousse inc. out of this desire to be able to create products that help restaurateurs improve their daily lives and have an impact on the portrait of food in Quebec. Following this goal I am now part of C.E. de Québec Nutri and am very active in the restaurant world.
Hugo Magnan’s biography :
Since 1999, Hugo has been taking over Malimousse, the family business built by his father in 1989. Over the last twenty years, he has acquired his experience by taking on many challenges and through different opportunities to hold several positions. Moving from production, sales, to delivery, Hugo is now President and has been since 2009. He is also the father of two young girls aged 9 and 10 who, we may know, will one day take over the family business.
Hugo is active in his field. He has sat on several boards of directors of organizations in the agri-food sector, such as ACQMER, PFMC, Créneau d’excellence Aliments santé, and is increasingly involved in the community.
Thanks to his sustained efforts and those of his team, he also won the Grand Prix Innovation at the SIAL in 2015 in Toronto

DIANA Nova - Denis Guyonnet, Scientific & Innovation Director

Business description :
To come…
Denis Guyonnet’s biography :
Denis Guyonnet has a PhD in nutrition and toxicology and has more than 15-year experience in clinical research on the health benefits of different foods including probiotics. His research was mainly focused on digestive health and the modulation of the gut microbiota. He has experience in the application of the science to food health claim regulation systems in different geographies (e.g. EFSA, US, Brazil, Japan). He is now Scientific & Innovation Director in Diana Nova since 2016, the transversal incubator in health & nutrition of Symrise Group. He is developing international scientific collaboration with academic experts to develop tailor made natural health solutions that positively impact the gut microbiota such as the 5-year research program on the prebiotic effect of polyphenols launched in 2018 with the team of Professor Yves Desjardins (Laval University, Québec, Canada). Beyond these R&D activities, he was the founder of a pure B2C digital brand called, Flore (maflore.com), offering a range of natural products (100% fruit & vegetable powder, lactic acid bacteria) combined with a mobile application. This was an intrapreneurship project aiming at exploring new business model and to create direct link with consumers.

Evive - Dominic Dubé, Co-Founder & CEO

Business description :
Simple, quick & healthy smoothies on the go! The first in Canada to offer a unique frozen smoothie cube concept. Prepare a nutritious & delicious breakfast smoothie without a blender! The company strives to have a positive impact on the environment and people’s daily routines. By making their products healthy, nutritious and convenient, they can achieve their mission of making healthy eating more accessible. Being able to prepare a delicious smoothie blender-free in seconds is what makes their frozen smoothie cubes very unique. They’re as convenient in the food industry as they are in their customers’ homes.
Dominic Dubé’s biography :
Right after college, my life partner and I began making frozen smoothie cubes for ourselves and the people around us to make it possible to prepare a healthy smoothie, even on busy mornings.
Many challenges, successes and learnings later, Evive is one of the fastest-growing food company in Canada.

Moderator: Simon Chouinard, Executive Director, Entrepreneurship Laval, Université Laval

Passionate about entrepreneurship, he founded a company at the age of 23 and ran it for over 20 years. Admitted to the Quebec Bar in 2003, he then completed a master’s degree in taxation and worked as a tax lawyer for nearly 15 years. He has carried out mandates on a national and international scale. In 2012, he joined a fast-growing law firm in order to contribute to the vision and growth of the company. In 2019, he decided to put all his experience and expertise to work for Université Laval’s aspiring entrepreneurs.

Rates & registration

Sign up at the cost of $75 plus taxes and receive a promo code to save this amount on your BÉNÉFIQ2021 registration.
The 5th edition of the event will be held from February 9 to 11, 2021 in a hybrid format, at the Quebec City Convention Centre and online.


Special thanks


Proud organizers


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