Student wins Food and Beverage Ontario contest with refreshing product idea

Imagine a hot summer day and you reach for a refreshing sip of water, except that it has not been refrigerated.

This is what led Angie Ibrahim, a fourth year student in McMaster’s Biology and Pharmacology Program, to research a compound that makes lukewarm water taste cold.

Ibrahim’s product idea, named ICI, won a Taste Your Future campaign contest by Food and Beverage Ontario under the Scientist/Programmer/Engineer category.

“The concept stemmed from the phenomenon whereby water tastes cool after brushing your teeth,” said Ibrahim. “There are three compounds that create this thermal illusion: iciline, menthol, and eucalyptol.”

Unlike menthol, which gives toothpaste its cool, minty flavour, iciline is tasteless and can be added to water, or any beverage, to produce the same effect.

During most meals a person will likely have a glass of cold water. This causes the food to solidify and makes it difficult for the body’s digestion to absorb the nutrients from the food.

ICI keeps it easy for the body to absorb nutrients from food but activates the cold receptors in the mouth to taste refreshing.

As part of winning the contest, Ibrahim received a $2,000 bursary, industry coaching sessions, a resume-building workshop, and business resources that can help her make her winning submission a reality.

“More companies should have campaigns like this. Think of all the people who have these incredible ideas and no platform or professionals through which to flesh out that idea.”

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