Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is awarding $654,417 to eight foodtech projects through the organization’s Innovation Booster Program. Industry will match these funds to create projects valued at over $1.3 million. The Innovation Booster funding recipients are:
Project Lead: Enhanced Medical Nutrition Inc. (Ontario)
Project Title: Evidence-based Medical Food for Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery
Acknowledging the role of nutrition in post-surgical recovery, Enhanced Medical Nutrition (EMN) is investigating the impact of their medical food products on orthopaedic surgery patients. Leveraging markerless motion capture gait analysis technology (a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s stance and walking patterns), the project will determine how EMN’s products influence surgical patients' movement and function after their procedure. Results from this project hold strong potential to revolutionize conventional surgical preparation and recovery practices, redefining how food can optimize clinical outcomes.
Project Lead: RxFood Corp. (Ontario)
Project Title: AI-powered Photo Food Analysis, Personalized Interpretation, and Dietary Recommendation to Improve Healthy Eating and Chronic Disease Outcomes
A combination of growing factors—including misinformation regarding nutritional claims, a surge in metabolic-related conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and increasing difficulty in accessing dietitians—reveal an urgent need for innovative solutions to enhance Canadians' dietary habits. RxFood is tackling this challenge by adapting their AI-powered, clinical-grade dietary assessment technology for widespread use among Canadians while promoting improved diet quality for managing and preventing chronic diseases. Currently, users capture images of their meals over a three-day period, allowing RxFood to assess food content, portion sizes, and calculate validated diet quality scores. This data is then discussed with a clinician to establish nutrition goals. With more than 100,000 assessments completed, the project's next phase seeks to automate the interpretation and food recommendations by fusing food data with user information—such as age, location, gender and dietary restrictions—to sustainably improve a person's diet quality and health.
Project Lead: Psigryph Inc. (Ontario)
Project Title: Clinical Trial for Cholestello—A Dietary Supplement for Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Psigryph has achieved a milestone by developing a market-ready dietary supplement poised for commercialization. The project addresses a crucial issue—the inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables leading to health problems. Building on results from mouse studies at the University of Guelph, Psigryph is now planning human clinical trials that will help define the product and ensure it complies with industry regulations in the U.S. and Canada, where Health Canada approval is required. This project underscores the potential of Psigryph’s key ingredient—locally sourced sour cherries from Ontario— to increase the bioavailability of essential bioactives to enhance human health and wellbeing.
Project Lead: Biofect Innovations (Ontario)
Project Title: Production of a Novel Natural Protein Sweetener via Microbial Fermentation
Brazzein is a potent natural sweetening protein that could help alleviate the challenges posed by sugar and artificial sweeteners. Excessive sugar consumption is associated with various health issues, while artificial sweeteners often have an unpleasant aftertaste and uncertain health profiles. Brazzein, which is derived from the Oubli berry fruit in West Africa, is 2,000 times sweeter than sugar, offering a healthier alternative. However, its cultivation is restricted to specific regions, and Brazzein is found in minuscule concentrations in the fruit, making large-scale farming impractical. To overcome this, Biofect Innovations is pioneering a microbial fermentation technology, similar to processes used in beer, wine or insulin production. The approach aims to economically produce Brazzein at scale by sidestepping traditional agriculture and harnessing the efficiency of microbial platforms.
Project Lead: Fresh Prep Foods (British Columbia)
Project Title: Increasing Adoption of Specialty, Nutrition Focused Diets Through Advanced Fulfillment Software
Fresh Prep is addressing the limited accessibility of personalized meal programs for specialty diets by developing software that enables consumers to plan and execute their nutrition-focused diets affordably. The software, an AI-powered virtual nutrition advisor (referred to as "the menu planner"), will deliver nutritional guidance alongside the convenience of meal kit deliveries. Fresh Prep’s ability to seamlessly blend personalization and convenience has it on track to become the sole Canadian meal provider with the technology to offer customized meals without inflating expenses.
Project Lead: Millennia TEA Inc. (New Brunswick)
Project Title: Increasing Solubility and Bioavailability in Nutrient-dense Plants
Millennia TEA aims to unlock the potential of the tea plant's nutritional compounds for human health. Currently, commercial processing methods limit the body's ability to absorb these nutrients effectively. To address this, Millennia TEA is utilizing a combination of lemon juice, simulated washing, high-powered ultrasound and a freeze-drying technique. Their goal is to enhance the release of these health-promoting compounds, ultimately improving their bioavailability. This project involves collaboration with food scientists and biochemists who specialize in polyphenolic and cellular analyses. The industry impact includes providing B2B health ingredients for businesses in the better-for-you beverage sector—such as kombucha, iced tea, non-alcoholic beer and energy drinks—as well as supplements like greens powders and protein powder.
Project Lead: Cronometer Software Inc (British Columbia)
Project Title: AI Food Suggestions
Cronometer Software is replacing its Food Suggestion feature in its mobile and web app with an AI-powered alternative. This AI Food Suggestions feature will provide tailored suggestions based on individual user needs, assisting users in meeting their specific daily calorie and nutrient targets. The AI Food Suggestions project is designed to cater uniquely to each user, generating recommendations based on factors such as recently logged foods, selected filters (e.g., high protein, vegetarian), meal categories (e.g., lunch), and dietary exclusions (e.g., gluten and peanuts). This project will enhance user satisfaction and nutritional outcomes, marking a step forward in the evolution of Cronometer Software's platform.
Project Lead: Tait Laboratories Inc. (Quebec)
Project Title: Clinical Investigation of a Citrus Peel Prebiotic
Tait Laboratories is running human clinical trials aimed at substantiating the prebiotic properties of a patented citrus peel extract, supported by advanced AI analysis of gut microbiome and overall digestive health. This research will enhance the understanding of how prebiotics impact human wellbeing and explore opportunities to repurpose citrus peel waste generated by Canadian consumers and juice companies, which accounts for approximately 175,000 metric tons each year. The anticipated outcomes include the development of sustainable waste management solutions, a reduction in landfill burdens, and the potential creation of new value streams within the Canadian juice industry. Beyond its role in providing macro nutrients, food can be a powerful tool in the prevention and treatment of human diseases and common health ailments. The concept of "food as medicine" is growing in popularity with consumers, and globally innovators are launching new software, ingredients and products that aim to improve health and wellness.
This Innovation Booster funding call sought applications targeting the food as medicine category, including innovations focused on personalized health solutions, novel and emerging functional ingredients, and novel processing methods. CFIN’s Innovation Booster provides funding and support to SMEs to help them accelerate product development, overcome innovation hurdles, and validate market fit. During this seventh round of Innovation Booster funding, CFIN received 21 applications from across the country.
In total, 37 Canadian foodtech companies have received $3,132,874 from this program since 2021. Across all programs CFIN has approved $13.5M for 50 Canadian food innovation projects.
“Personalized nutrition thrives on innovation, offering individuals the tools they need to navigate the complex world of dietary choices and personalized meal plans. These eight projects demonstrate Canadian-made solutions that are empowering individuals to optimize their health and well-being by tailoring their diets to suit their individual profiles, promoting a healthier and more sustainable future,” Says Dana McCauley CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network.