Meet Mehmet Caglar Tulbek, PhD

Mehmet Caglar Tulbek, PhD.

It is a long way from Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but it is a journey that Dr. Mehmet Tulbek, the newly appointed president of the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, took in the name of career and education. The path from there to here has not been a direct one.

Tulbek has been a research, technology, and innovation leader with over 20 years of pulses, cereals, oilseeds and plant-based foods’ global research and development, technical services, business development, international technical education, and management experience. He completed his B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering with emphasis in Food Science and Technology at Ankara University, and his M.Sc. in Food Engineering at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. He then moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Cereal Science at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

Before joining the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (Food Centre) as its president in January 2022, Tulbek served as the director of research and development at AGT Food and Ingredients in Saskatoon, Canada, and worked at Northern Crops Institute (NCI) as crop quality specialist and then as technical director.

The Food Centre is a development and innovation agency to lead innovation and commercialization efforts in Saskatchewan’s agri-food industry. It was established in 1997 and gone through major growth over the last 20 years under the leadership of Dan Prefontaine. The Food Centre focuses on agri-food utilization, innovation, and commercialization with programs on product development, extrusion research and development, manufacturing, incubation, food safety, skills development, ingredient innovation, women in agri-food entrepreneurship business development, food-grade crop quality and fermentation and bioengineering.

“I look forward to continuing the momentum established at the Food Centre and would like to lead the organization into new frontiers with cutting edge technologies in fermentation and bioengineering, sustainable and clean label ingredient processing systems and lifecycle analysis programs,” says Tulbek. “Our most recent addition is the fermentation and bioengineering program and with this addition the Food Centre we will be offering contract research and manufacturing opportunities for the growing fermentation industry. Saskatchewan has so many resources and co-products—starches, flours, hulls, fibers, proteins, and meals—available and we look forward to working with companies and stakeholders driving the innovation and commercialization solutions in this segment.”

Talbek goes on to say, “the Food Centre is a place where dreams come through for entrepreneurs in the food industry. We can help start-ups working on their grandmother’s cookie recipe and assist them to move into the corporate world or we work with small and large SMEs and fortune 500s to solve their problems. Projects are conducted with 100 per cent confidentiality and Food Centre does not take any position on intellectual property, which makes it attractive for our clientele.”

Mehmet is a sought-after presenter at global industry and academic gatherings, and has authored several journal articles, book chapters, proceedings and two provisional patents. He currently serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Saskatchewan Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences and the University of Manitoba Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences.

Let’s eat: The new frontier in Saskatchewan’s commercial food processing