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Food innovation challenge offering $1M in awards

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Applications are set to open June 1 for the Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge, to inspire and support innovative, diverse, and multidisciplinary teams to develop game-changing innovations that will help transform the food system — while also including three levels of award money totaling $1 million.

The challenge, run by the Institute of Food Technologists in collaboration with the Seeding The Future Foundation, is intended to help address the 811 million people across the globe suffering from hunger and facing food-related challenges. The featured innovations have the potential for significant impact at scale and over time, and they should benefit at least one or more of the following intersecting domains: nutritious food for a healthy diet; sustainably produced; and accessible, appealing, affordable, and trusted by consumers.

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 1, 2022.

To monetary awards include: 

  • Seed Grants ($25,000 each) will be awarded to organizations that are planting and nurturing high-potential, innovative ideas and have developed a prototype and/or initial proof of concept demonstrating feasibility. Innovation must benefit at least one, ideally two domains with no negative impact on the others.
  • Growth Grants ($100,000 each) will be awarded to organizations that have demonstrated their innovation is doable and have projected both economic feasibility at scale and high-impact potential to transform the food system. The innovation must benefit at least two, ideally three domains with no negative impact on the others.
  • Seeding The Future Grand Prizes ($250,000 each) will be awarded to organizations that have created innovations that are scalable, economically feasible at scale, trusted, and compelling to consumers, and have demonstrated major impact potential to transform the food system. The innovation must benefit at least two, ideally three domains with no negative impact on the others.

“Last year’s Challenge was a great success with nearly 900 organizations engaging from around the world, and we strongly believe this initiative will be impactful for years to come by helping to accelerate scientific breakthroughs,” said Christie Tarantino-Dean, Chief Executive Officer at IFT, which is committed to advancing the science of food.

Seed Grant recipients will be announced in September 2022, and Growth Grant recipients and Seeding The Future Grand Prize recipients will be announced in January 2023.

“We believe that the most revolutionary ideas start at a very small scale, come from passionate and diverse teams, and have the potential for a big impact,” said Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of the Seeding The Future Foundation, a nonprofit motivated by its core value that everyone should always have equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable, appealing, and trusted food. “Our hope is the challenge creates a robust and powerful innovation pipeline that leads to transformative change within the global food system.”

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