GUELPH, ON, — The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is investing $2,545,030 into eight projects, valued at over $5M through the organization’s Food Innovation Challenge and Innovation Booster Programs.
The Food Innovation Challenge funding recipients are:
Theory Mesh (Winnipeg, MB): Creating A More Sustainable Beef and Dairy Supply Chain Through Controlled Environment Agriculture and Digitization
TheoryMesh is partnering with CubicFarm Systems Corp. and EcoDairy to create a traceable and transparent supply chain for beef and dairy. By connecting all the players and data points throughout the supply chain, consumers will be able to pull up sustainability data on grocery store products using a QR code and ensure that the provenance of their food is verifiable at point of sale.
Blockchain will be used to capture verifiable data at all points within the supply chain and machine learning will be used to optimize the supply chain for sustainability and ensure the quality and safety of consumer products.
Vivid Machines (Toronto, ON): Scaling Fruit Volumes and Transparency Across the Fruit Supply Chain
Vivid Machines is working with Algoma Orchard and Blue Mountain Fruit Company to create digital twins of orchards to better determine ideal harvest timings and ensure that growers can meet the demands and needs of grocers and food processors. This added insight will also allow packhouses to offer better margins and end user pricing, while optimizing shipping, packing, and storage costs.
This project will use a unique computer vision and intelligence system that collects and analyzes data across an entire orchard to digitize fruit crops in real time and create a more agile and transparent fruit supply chain.
The Innovation Booster funding recipients are:
Liven Protein Corporation (Toronto, ON): Animal-free Collagen from Upcycling of Food Industry Side-streams
Liven is upcycling food industry side-streams into animal-free collagen ingredients. Collagen ingredients provide functional properties and unique health benefits, which makes them highly valued in the medical, nutraceutical, and food industries. Traditionally, collagen ingredients are of animal-origin, which is associated with several challenges including religious usage constraints, food safety, and unsustainability. Liven’s precision fermentation techniques can produce animal-free collagen from raw materials such as glucose, glycerol, and starch.
This project will focus on optimizing Liven’s bioprocess for upcycling starch streams and test additional side streams in the food industry as a starting material to build a versatile fermentation platform for animal-free protein manufacturing.
Rapid Aid Corporation (Mississauga, ON): Conducting Experimental Research to Develop Sustainable and Smart Packaging for Canadian Meal Kit Market
Rapid Air Corporation is developing a new sustainable packaging solution with biodegradable and recyclable components that will successfully prevent food waste in the meal kit and specialty food sectors. Their ecofriendly food shipper will address a gap in Canada's food business ecosystem as there are currently no Canadian companies that manufacture off-the-shelf, pre-qualified cold chain shipper systems for the Canadian food market.
Smallfood Inc. (Darthmouth, NS): Determination of Shelf-life Stability of A Novel Protein- And Dha-rich Food Ingredient
Smallfood is a microbial food & feed ingredient company focused on the commercialization and sustainable production of its SF Whole Cell -- a protein and DHA source that is highly desirable to the alternative seafood industry due to its nutritional value and natural seafood flavor. This project will assess the storage and shelf-life stability of SF Whole Cell under different storage and transportation conditions to determine its shelf-life.
Alternative proteins can offer consumers nutritious, healthy food options; but innovation in the space is required to realize the maximum economic, ethical, and environmental benefits this category of food products can achieve.
Saltwinds Coffee Company (Douglas, NB): Reducing Carbon Emissions in Coffee Roasting
Saltwinds Coffee Company is developing innovations that can help make coffee roasting carbon neutral. The company has created a proof-of-concept carbon capture system that can be used in the exhaust flue of a roaster, capturing the CO2 that is emitted when coffee beans are roasted. This project will explore how to scale the carbon capture system and will refine its composition and form for optimized long-term operation in industrial roasters.
Coffee is one of the most carbon-intensive beverages consumed in Canada. Environmental efforts in the coffee industry have been primarily focused on the farm level, but the roasting process itself is a significant carbon contributor. The results of this project will accelerate the protection and scaled production of Saltwinds' carbon capture innovations, helping the company offer a reduced carbon coffee to even more customers across Canada and around the world.
BioShur Inc. (Montreal, QC): Scale-Up of Biobased, Backyard Compostable, And Bioactive Packaging
BioShur is scaling up the fabrication of a bio-based and backyard compostable cling food wrap film that can extend the shelf life of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, processed meats, and cheese by 7 to 14 days. This project has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions and food waste, while offering a fully compostable and cost competitive advantage for food companies who currently use existing plastic packaging options.
Earthware Reusables Inc. (Calgary, AB): Development of Durable and UV Resistant Hemp Reinforced Polypropylene Composite for Vacuum Forming of Reusable Food Containers
Earthware has partnered with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to design, develop and implement a durable and UV resistant food takeout container that can be used as part of Earthware’s return-for-reuse takeout container program, which reduces single-use containers (SUCs) in the local food industry.
This first-of-its-kind program in Alberta facilitates the collection of the SUCs after the food has been packaged and consumed. Implementing circular systems like this is vital in tackling the national waste and pollution crisis Canada is facing. Positive impacts of this project will not only influence Canada’s food sector, but will also aid in Canada’s transition to net-zero by 2050.
Over the last year, CFIN has received over 230 applications from innovative companies across the country. To date, CFIN has approved $6.9M of funding to 27 projects.
“These eight projects demonstrate the wide-ranging and impactful innovation that’s happening across the country. Innovative Canadian companies are leveraging frontier technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and IoT to transform our food industry and sustainably change the way food is produced, transported, and consumed.”
– Joseph Lake
CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network
“Ensuring Canadian agri-food innovators have access to the latest technologies is crucial for Canada to remain a global leader in the industry. Today’s funding highlights exciting innovative projects across that show Canada has what it takes to build a stronger and more sustainable food ecosystem. Congratulations to all recipients.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our team at TheoryMesh is excited to partner with CubicFarm Systems and EcoDairy to ensure that every step of the supply chain—from farm to package—is securely recorded and tracked, giving consumers confidence that they are purchasing high-quality, sustainably-raised beef and dairy. In this project, TheoryMesh’s blockchain enabled supply chain technology will integrate controlled environment agriculture with digitization to bring greater transparency and efficiency to the beef and dairy industry. We envision that this innovative approach will set a new standard for the industry and contribute to a more sustainable and responsible food system for all.”
– Chris Bunio
“Everyone at Vivid Machines is committed to using their skills and innovative techniques to impact agriculture and food security.”
– Jenny Lemieux
Co-Founder and CEO, Vivid Machines
“Liven is thrilled to receive support from CFIN to advance utilization of more sustainable and affordable Canadian raw materials to produce animal-free collagen. Producing functional proteins without animals is crucial for reducing the impact of our food system, and being able to use side streams as raw material will enable Liven's production to be even more sustainable and affordable.”
- Fei Luo
Co-Founder and CEO, Liven Protein
“TempAid, a Division of Rapid Aid, is committed to creating sustainable cold chain packaging systems for the food industry that protect the quality of the shipment and the planet. We are honored by the support of CFIN in helping us continue our development of new methods of combining earth friendly refrigerants and insulations. TempAid has prided itself on its technical leadership and looks forward to expanding the understanding of how computer modeling and laboratory studies can improve the efficiency of shipping packaging for items that need to be held at specific temperatures.”
- Anthony Alleva
Director of Packaging Engineering and Validation, Rapid Aid
“Traditionally, the carbon footprint of coffee is extremely high compared to other beverages. Saltwinds has been working hard on reducing CO2 emissions in our coffee roasting. We are pleased to have the support of CFIN who is helping us to innovate and produce coffees our customers can feel even better about drinking!”
- Brad Rideout
“Earthware is proud to partner with SAIT to find the right design and composition for reusable containers. Earthware's return-for-reuse container service is uniquely positioned to help businesses navigate the single-use takeout container bans happening all around the world. We will make a sustainable difference in the reduction of waste for generations to come.”
- John MacInnes
ABOUT THE PROGRAMS
The Food Innovation Challenge is a unique funding opportunity for Canadian food industry collaborators who want to spearhead transformative improvements that will propel the food sector forward and generate significant economic impact. The Food Innovation Challenge prioritizes projects focused on smart product and process development, food ecosystem sustainability, and agile and safe supply chains.
The Innovation Booster provides flexible and rapid support to Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as they address food innovation challenges or technical hurdles that have created barriers to achieving their commercialization goals.
Both programs are administered by CFIN, which is supported by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.
ABOUT THE CANADIAN FOOD INNOVATION NETWORK
The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is a national non-profit, member-based organization that’s stimulating transformative and transferrable innovation across the Canadian food sector. We connect the Canadian food ecosystem to fresh insights, ideas, and technologies to elevate their business and increase their innovation capacity. You can become a CFIN member (for free!) in less than five minutes.
Innovation Booster Program
Food Innovation Challenge
CFIN Media Page
Jamil A. Karim
Canadian Food Innovation Network