The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) announced that it is investing $533,355 into six projects valued at more than $1 million through the organization’s Innovation Booster program.

The Innovation Booster funding recipients are:

Plan Automation Inc. (Bolton, Ont.): Piloting of Novel Foreign Matter Reclamation Technology for Food and Beverage Products 

Funding: $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): Building Circularity into Food Packaging Through a Technology Platform

Funding: $100,000.00

Suppli will be building out the technology needed to streamline the management of reusable food packaging to scale its operations across different geographies and other packaging verticals. In order to effectively operate a reusable packaging program at scale—and with little behavior 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: Forward Osmosis Foodstuff Concentration System Polymer Study and Production Project

Funding: $97,773.00

FWTC is developing an entirely new, food-safe line of equipment for cold concentration of foodstuffs, resulting in up to 10 times the concentration capability of reverse osmosis. This technology aims to 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): Lightweight Digital Twin Platform for Restaurant Inventory Management 

Funding: $95,549.00

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, B.C.): Monitoring the Variance in Beneficial and Hazardous Components of Seaweed to Optimize Industrial Processing for Food Applications

Funding: $73,771.00

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, Ont.): Fungal Cultures to Advance Domestic Supply Chains and Food Sustainability

Funding: $63,262.00

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 aiming to develop these cultures and fill the domestic production gap.

This project is expected to create new jobs, partnerships and nutritious products while also advancing Canada’s food sustainability and competitiveness. These cultures also have the potential for upcycling food waste, which aligns with Canada’s circular economy goals.