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

Nutrimeals
Projects in this cohort range from an automated tempeh incubator to upcycling produce.

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is investing a collective $339,000 into four Canadian projects related to the food sector.

Applications for the next round of Innovation Booster funding opened on July 20th and are due by September 12.

Under the CFIN’s Innovation Booster program, the recipients are Trendi Tech, Nutrimeals, Henry’s Tempeh, and Index Biosystems.

The CFIN’s Innovation Booster program was designed to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises, and has accumulated less than $50 million in gross revenues. The program is backed by a $30 million investment from the federal government, made through a $200 million top-up in the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund from Budget 2019.

The projects in this cohort, according to the CFIN, are valued at nearly $700,000 and range from using baker’s yeast for supply chain tech to upcycling misfit fruits and vegetables.

Burnaby-based Trendi is receiving $85,667 for its Smoothie Machine, which the company touts as a healthy and automated vending solution that will offer fresh fruit smoothies and hot soup options using repurposed produce.

Founded in 2019 by Craig McIntosh (CEO) and Carissa Campeotto (CMO), Trendi’s technology focuses on eliminating food waste. In June, Trendi secured $8.45 million in seed funding.

Securing the largest share of the investments is Nutrimeals, which is receiving $98,206. The company is working on a platform that uses artificial intelligence to provide ready-to-eat meals that are customized to each customer’s dietary needs. By further developing its ecommerce platform and logistics model, Nutrimeals said that it will be able to deliver hyper localized fulfillment across Canada.

Based in Calgary, Nutrimeals offers local delivery to its clients in the city and ships to a number of locations across Western Canada, catering to customers across Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

With $61,051 from the CFIN, Henry’s Tempeh wants to develop an automated turn-key tempeh incubator system that can be scaled to produce industrial quantities of tempeh, a superfood that originates from the island of Java in Indonesia.

Tempeh is made of cultured and fermented soybeans and can be used as a source for protein. Made in its facility in the Waterloo-Region, Henry’s Tempeh claims that its products are organic, vegan, and gluten-free.

Toronto-based Index secured $92,790 in its portion of the CFIN investments for its BioTags offering. Using biotechnology, Index turns baker’s yeast into microscopic barcodes called BioTags.

Founded in 2019, Index claims that BioTags are able to create a secure link between a product and its supply chain data. The startup said its technology has multiple use cases, with potential applications in agrochemicals, animal feed, cannabis, energy, food, pharmaceuticals, as well as textiles.

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CFIN noted that it received 27 applications for its Innovation Booster program from organizations based in 16 cities across Canada including Port Coquitlam, Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, Quebec City, and Halifax.

Applications for the next round of Innovation Booster funding opened on July 20th and are due by September 12. The latest round will focus on projects that address food ecosystem sustainability, and applicants must be members of the CFIN.

According to CFIN, the maximum amount of funding that it will be doling out through the Innovation Booster program is capped at 50 percent of the total eligible projects costs, which are required to be between $20,000 and $200,000. CFIN will require a non-refundable project management fee, representing five percent of total eligible project costs.

Eligible applicants are those that address food innovation challenges or “technical hurdles” that have created barriers for achieving their commercialization goals.

Since CFIN opened the Innovation Booster program in January, a spokesperson for the organization told BetaKit that it has supported five projects, providing a total funding of $630,852 across two rounds.

Featured image from CFIN.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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