Eight Canadian foodtech projects receive $1.9 million in pilot funding from CFIN

Supported projects include short-haul delivery robots and augmented reality training programs. 

Eight Canadian foodtech startups have received a collective $1.9 million in project funding from The Canadian Food Innovation Network’s (CFIN) FoodTech Next program.

“These industry pilots will not only validate the potential of Canadian foodtech innovations, but also ensure they meet the rigorous demands of practical application[…].”
-CFIN CEO Dana McCauley

The funding, which ranged from $205,000 to $249,999 per project, is aimed at piloting these projects in real-world conditions to validate their market fit within the food sector, according to a statement from CFIN.  

CFIN counts the FoodTech Next as a funding resource for its member companies, alongside its Innovation Booster program. The FoodTech Next program is aimed to accelerate the commercialization of early-stage Canadian food technology firms, while the Innovation Booster program targets small-to-medium sized businesses with funding for innovation at research. 

Both programs are supported by a $30-million investment made by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund in 2019. 

“Canada is a leader in foodtech because of investments like these. These innovations are addressing real industry challenges with unique solutions that promote sustainability and resilience in the sector. I look forward to seeing these projects progress and create results for the sector,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay said in a statement. 

Toronto-based Index Biosystems is behind one of the projects being supported by the FoodNext program. Working with an undisclosed “North American milling company,” the project is looking to implement BioTags, which the company describes as microscopic barcodes made from baker’s yeast. 

Working with Index’s in-development platform, BioTags are applied to food and ingredients, where they are supposed to generate “molecular-level” insights into production lines and provide information on where ingredients came from. The aim of the project is to improve recall efficiency through its ingredient-tracing abilities. 

RELATED: CFIN invests $338,000 into four Canadian projects related to food sector

In 2022, Index received $92,790 from the CFIN Innovation Booster program to develop its BioTags.

Montréal-based DeepSight Réalité Augmentée and its partner, Québec chicken restaurant chain St-Hubert, received $233,967 to deploy its augmented reality solution for industrial training in the food processing and food service sectors. 

DeepSight says its platform allows employees to create and consult 3D instruction guides that are superimposed on the work environment, accelerating the onboarding of new employees and the development of experienced employees.

Another project comes out of Kitchener-Waterloo-based Real Life Robotics, which received $242,127 for its short-haul urban food delivery robots alongside an undisclosed partner. The project targets SkipTheDishes, Uber Eats, and DoorDosh with its BUBS robot that it claims is adept at navigating urban environments with minimal tele-supervision. The second-generation robot prototype is set to be tested in multiple Canadian cities, the company said. 

Three of the remaining funded projects came out of British Columbia, one being a low-temperature dehydration method, and a couple looking to improve local protein sourcing and flavour in plant-based meat products, respectively. One project, out of Nova Scotia, is looking to implement a method that incorporates used coffee grounds into food and animal feed.

“These industry pilots will not only validate the potential of Canadian foodtech innovations, but also ensure they meet the rigorous demands of practical application, driving meaningful advancements in the industry,” CFIN CEO Dana McCauley said in a statement. 

CFIN said the combined value of the projects is just under $4 million.

Details on all of the funded projects are on CFIN’s website here

Feature image of DeepSight courtesy of CFIN.

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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