Digital twins, circular packaging, and alternative proteins among the innovations funded through CFIN’s Innovation Booster Program
The Innovation Booster funding recipients are:
Plan Automation Inc. (Bolton, ON): Piloting of Novel Foreign Matter Reclamation Technology for Food and Beverage ProductsFunding: $100,000.00 Through this project, Plan Automation will pilot the world’s first fully automated reclamation technology that can detect and reclaim foreign matter from packaged food and beverage products. This first-of-its-kind technology works with a variety of food and beverage packaging options and can flag various types and dimensions of foreign matter at line speed.
Current food and beverage detection technologies have limitations, including the inability to work across different types of products and accurately detect all sizes of foreign matter. Plan Automation’s novel solution has the potential to significantly enhance food safety both locally and abroad, providing processors with new tools to improve food safety and reduce food waste.
Suppli (Toronto, ON): Building Circularity into Food Packaging Through an Innovative Technology Platform
Suppli will be building out the technology needed to streamline the management of reusable food packaging to scale their operations across different geographies and other packaging verticals. In order to effectively operate a reusable packaging program at scale — and with little behaviour change required by consumers and vendors — technology is needed to deliver real-time data across the user journey.
With the government mandated phase out of single use packaging coming into effect, Suppli is building a circular solution that eliminates the need for single-use packaging in a way that reduces costs and prepares businesses for incoming regulations on food packaging.
Forward Water Technologies Corporation (Toronto, ON): Forward Osmosis Foodstuff Concentration System Polymer Study and Production ProjectFunding: $97,773.00
FWTC is developing an entirely new, food-safe line of equipment for cold concentration of foodstuffs, resulting in up to 10x the concentration capability of reverse osmosis. This technology will advance the competitiveness of Canada’s food business ecosystem through the production of higher quality end products with reduced GHG emissions associated with processing.
Radish Cooperative (Montreal, QC): Lightweight Digital Twin Platform for Restaurant Inventory Management
In a bid to help small and medium-sized restaurants reduce food waste and optimize costs, Radish is developing a lightweight digital twin system that will enable restaurants to easily monitor and predict their inventory stores, with a focus on accessibility and accuracy. The initial R&D phase of the combined hardware and software solution will allow kitchen staff to use networked scales, thermometers, and measuring cups to accurately measure their stock levels of raw ingredients and finished product output.
By using real-time data to accurately track inventory and manage purchasing decisions, Radish can help restaurants reduce waste, save money, and minimize their carbon footprint.
Cascadia Seaweed (Sidney, BC): Monitoring the Variance in Beneficial and Hazardous Components of Seaweed to Optimize Industrial Processing for Food Applications
Cascadia Seaweed seeks to extend the shelf-life of fresh seaweed while developing and scaling-up processes that can help Canada produce more value-added innovative seaweed products for international markets.
With no agricultural land requirements, seaweed presents a sustainable food crop opportunity with growing global demand. Canada currently plays a small role in the global export of these products, but as the seaweed sector continues to mature, Canada has the potential to become an industry leader.
Escarpment Laboratories (Guelph, ON): Innovative Fungal Cultures Advance Domestic Supply Chains and Food Sustainability
Through this project, Escarpment Labs aims to produce Canada’s first commercial Tempeh and Koji cultures. Canada’s plant-based market is accelerating; however, popular fermented proteins like Tempeh and Koji rely upon imported starter cultures, with no domestic options available. Escarpment Labs is one of the few Canadian companies with the expertise needed to develop these innovative cultures and fill this domestic production gap.
This project will create new jobs, partnerships, and nutritious products, while also advancing Canada’s food sustainability and competitiveness. These cultures also have enormous potential for upcycling food waste, which perfectly aligns with Canada’s circular economy goals.
About the Innovation Booster Program
The Innovation Booster, which is administered by CFIN and supported by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, provides flexible and rapid support to Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) as they address food innovation challenges or technical hurdles that have created barriers to achieving their commercialization goals.
For this round of the Innovation Booster, CFIN received 44 applications from organizations based in 25 cities across Canada including Halifax, Lunenburg, Winnipeg, Delta, and Saint-Hyacinthe. In total, the program has invested over $1.5M into 17 projects since 2021.
The Innovation Booster program will re-open in 2023. Applicants must be members of the Canadian Food Innovation Network. Membership is free and open to anyone in the Canadian food sector.
“These six projects are prime examples of the breadth of exciting food innovation that’s happening here in Canada. CFIN is extremely excited to fund homegrown, innovative solutions that have the potential to reduce emissions, increase domestic production, and establish Canada as a global leader in new and emerging food sectors.”
– Joseph Lake
CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network
“Innovation and technology are key to the success of our agri-food sector. That is why our government continues to collaborate with the Canadian Food Innovation Network to invest in projects that help to build a stronger and more sustainable food industry. This new funding will help Canadian food companies to be more efficient, create good jobs for the country and ensure Canada remains a global leader in sustainable food production.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“PLAN Automation Inc. is delighted to be recognized by Canadian Food Innovation Network and looks forward to serving our valued clients for many years to come.”
– Marcello LaGrotta
CEO, PLAN Automation Inc.
“Suppli is thrilled to be receiving support from the Canadian Food Innovation Network for its work to reduce single-use packaging waste across Canada. In partnership with another Canadian food tech company, Hungerhub, this funding will support the buildout of important technical infrastructure and integrations to allow for scalability of Suppli’s solution across cities, as well as across different verticals in the food industry.”
– Megan Takeda-Tully
Founder and CEO, Suppli
“Forward Water Technologies Corporation is excited to explore the advancement of its proprietary technology for the foodstuffs industry. The ability to cold concentrate liquid food and beverage streams preserves the high quality of the product while intensifying flavours and aromas, produces no secondary waste stream, and accomplishes the process using only a fraction of the energy that traditional thermal processes require. The net result is a superior product made at reduced costs that lowers GHG emissions. The support from CFIN will enable us to accelerate this development and get to market even faster.”
– Howie Honeyman
CEO, Forward Water Technologies
“Radish Cooperative is very fortunate to be able to count on CFIN’s investment and market expertise to back the research and development of its networked digital twin inventory system. Their engagement will help us make strides in targeting the heart of the Canadian restaurant industry: the small-and-medium restaurant business. Not only will we be able to economically reinforce the most critical, yet vulnerable actors in the sector, but we will be able to drive concrete and measurable reductions in emissions and waste as well. Given the current outlook on both the economy and the climate, this could not come at a better time for Canadian restaurants.
– Mansib Rahman
CEO, Radish Cooperative
“As pressure mounts over arable land and populations continue to rise, we must recognize opportunities within the Blue Economy to produce products while adapting to climate change. Receiving this grant from the Canadian Food Innovation Network will help us engage in innovative processing trials to continue building trust with consumers while developing improved ways of processing our cultivated, climate-positive seaweed crop for human consumption.”
– Susan Levang
VP of Brand Operations, Cascadia Seaweed
“Escarpment Labs is thrilled to be supported by CFIN to produce Canada’s first commercial shelf-stable Tempeh and Koji starter cultures. This will extend the work we have done in the brewing industry to the food industry and help support a robust Canadian fermentation economy.”
– Richard Preiss
Co-Founder and Lab Director, Escarpment Labs
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.
Jamil A. Karim
Canadian Food Innovation Network