How to Leverage CFIN’s Innovation Booster & Food Innovation Challenge Streams

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) initiative is meant to help Canadian food and beverage companies enhance their sector via R&D, adoption of new products and services, and innovation. CFIN continues to provide support via new intakes for it’s CFIN Innovation Booster stream and CFIN Food Innovation Challenge stream.

“The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is an industry-led, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to becoming the world-leading innovation network for food and beverage processing.”

Canadian Food Innovation Network

In these two CFIN streams, companies can assess a product’s fit in the market, develop a minimum viable product, or expand internationally.

CFIN Innovation Booster

As a result of the Innovation Booster, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are able to advance their food research and innovation efforts.

Funding Amount

The CFIN Innovation Booster program is offering funding support with the following caveats:

  1. The CFIN Innovation Booster may fund up to a maximum of 50% of eligible expenses, in a cost sharing structure, for projects ranging from $20,000–$200,000 in total costs;
    • For example, a project totalling $200,000 in eligible costs may receive a maximum of $100,000 in cost sharing support.
  2. Costs that are incurred prior to project approval are not eligible; and
  3. All approved projects are subject to a management fee that will be equal to 5% of total project costs to be charged by CFIN.

Eligible Applicants

To be an eligible applicant for the CFIN Innovation Booster program, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Are an organization which is incorporated in Canada;
  • Are a member of CFIN (membership is free);
  • Will lead a project that falls under the category of post-farmgate food production supply chain;
  • Can clearly articulate an identifiable technical hurdle with an outlined methodology to address it;
  • Have a specific goal or outcome with real commercial application;
  • Will conduct research and development at Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1 to 7. Projects with TRL 8 and 9 components may be considered if they are an addition to, or correlated with a project that also includes a TRL 1 to 7; and
  • Will lead a project that will not exceed one year in length.

Eligible Projects

For a CFIN Innovation Booster stream project to be eligible, the project should fall under one of the three pillar CFIN Innovation priorities:

Smart Product and Process Development:

  • Empower benefits for health, wellness, and nutrition;
  • Lead to increase in productivity and food/worker safety through robotics and machinery;
  • Support new improvement to AI, sensors, and big data for an increase in output efficiencies; and
  • Support sciences in emerging fields, such as cultured protein.

Food Ecosystem Sustainability:

  • Reduce food waste;
  • Increase value recovery;
  • Lead to circularity and upcycling;
  • Support environmentally friendly and smart packaging; and
  • Use inputs, such as energy, water, and carbon, more efficiently.

Agile and Safe Supply Chains:

  • Improve logistics and strengthen supply chain;
  • Improve consumer and customer analytics;
  • Ensure food safety and security;
  • Apply technologies in IoT and digital application to food chains; and
  • Integrate blockchain technology and traceability.

To learn more about this CFIN program, visit our Canadian Food Innovation Network’s (CFINs) Innovation Booster program page.

Program Timeline

The CFIN Booster program has a variety of application deadlines scheduled for the 2023-2024 year, with the following four dates currently mentioned:

  • Intake 1: Open Theme
    • Applications Open: February 1st, 2023
    • Applications Close: March 3rd, 2023
    • Notification of Award: April 24th, 2023
  • Intake 2: Personalized Nutrition and Improving Human Health Through Food
    • Applications Open: May 29th, 2023
    • Applications Close: June 26th, 2023
    • Notification of Award: September 1st, 2023
  • Intake 3: Open Theme
    • Applications Open: October 9th, 2023
    • Applications Close: November 16, 2023
    • Notification of Award: January 22, 2024

New call-to-action

CFIN Food Innovation Challenge

The goal of this stream is to help Canadian food industry collaborators develop transformative improvements that will propel the food sector forward and create significant economic value.

“This vision means that over time, Canada will develop benchmarks for measuring its relative global position in food innovation and it will continuously strive to bolster Canada’s global ranking in food industry competitiveness”

Canada Food Innovation Network

Funding Amount

The Canadian Food Innovation Network’s Food Innovation Challenge program offers the following funding to successful applicants:

  • Applicants may receive up to 50% of eligible costs for projects between $1 million and $4 million in total costs;
  • 50% of total costs should be covered by the applicant;
  • Projects should fall between a $1 million – $4 million range for budget; and
  • If approved, successful applicants will be required to pay CFIN a 5% non-refundable project management fee.

Learn more about funding by visiting the CFIN program page.

Eligible Applicants

The following criteria must be met by applicants for the Food Innovation Challenge:

  • Initiatives that are industry-led and collaborative should be the focus of applicants;
  • An applicant who is willing to take the lead, as well as collaborative partners who are also Canadian corporations;
  • Collaboration parties must be incorporated in Canada or be affiliated with Canadian research institutions;
  • A successful participant should be a member of CFIN;
  • The presence of at least one SME (with fewer than 500 employees and gross revenue of less than $50 million);
  • There should be at least two independent companies in the private sector;
  • With more partners, it is possible to involve a broader range of organizations, companies, SMEs, universities, colleges, research centers, etc.
  • Research and development should be conducted at Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1 to 7.

To learn more about eligibility criteria, review the comprehensive CFIN program page.

Eligible Activities

Projects should meet these criteria in order to receive Challenge funding:

  • Three types of projects should be considered:
    • Smart Product and Process Development: health and wellness products, robotics, AI and big data systems, and emerging products;
    • Food System Sustainability: such as food waste, value recovery, circularity and upcycling, eco-friendly packaging, and increased efficiencies; and
    • Agile and Safe Supply Chains: logistics and supply chains, consumer analysis, food safety and security, and digital supply chain solutions.
  • Materials, equipment, and direct labor costs may qualify;
  • A number of research activities are conducted in industrial settings for the discovery of new knowledge aimed at developing new technology-driven products, processes, and services at early stage TRLs; and
  • The advancement and development of new tech into product-specific applications at middle or late stage TRLs. Projects may cover a broad range of TRLs through activities from research to near commercialization.

Program Timelines

Food Innovation Challenge #4

Cultivating a resilient food future: Developing the end-to-end Cellular Food capacity for Canadian global leadership.

  • Expression of Interest Open Date: February 13th, 2023
    Expression of Interest Close: March 27th, 2023
    Full Application Invites: April 26th, 2023
    Full Application Deadline: May 24th, 2023
    Notification of Award: July 24th, 2023

Food Innovation Challenge #5

This intake does not currently have a set theme.

  • Expression of Interest Open Date: April 3rd, 2023
    Expression of Interest Close: May 10th, 2023
    Full Application Invites: June 12th, 2023
    Full Application Deadline: July 26th, 2023
    Notification of Award: October 10th, 2023

Learn More About Government Funding

Do you want to learn more about the CFIN Innovation Booster? Contact a Mentor Works professional today.

Find out more about government funding program opportunities, like the Innovation Booster, by visiting our government funding directory for food and beverage. Also, readers should consider subscribing to our government funding newsletter to learn about top programs and Canadian government funding news weekly.

Mentor Works truly believes in connecting Canadian businesses with government funding news, resources, and opportunities to foster innovation, productivity improvements, and strong economic growth throughout Canada.

Navigating the Canadian Government Funding Process

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *