If you haven’t noticed by now, Trendi loves anything related to the future of food so when Dana McCauley, the Canadian Food Innovation Network’s Chief Experience Officer, paid a visit to Trendi’s Clubhouse we were ecstatic! 

What is CFIN?

The Canadian Food Innovation Network, or CFIN, is a national non-profit that is stimulating innovation in the food industry by “connecting the Canadian food ecosystem to fresh insights, ideas, and technologies to elevate their innovation capacity.” CFIN is centered around three innovation priorities: Smart Product and Process Development, Food Ecosystem Sustainability and Agile and Safe Supply Chains. It is a membership driven organization for anybody working in the food business in Canada, no matter what their role is in the company.

CFIN has three programs set up to foster innovation in the Canadian food sector that aim to help create full solutions by accelerating performance, connecting investors and fostering collaboration and ultimately boosting Canada’s innovation capacity. Their newest program, FoodTech Next, is designed for early-stage startups with big, innovative ideas to connect to resources they might need, like investors or researchers. The Food Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for those who are ready to bring innovation and capital into the Canadian food industry. Innovation Boosters are available to small-to-medium enterprises to propel them to a higher level of technology readiness – “a little push to build a prototype or a demonstration”, says McCauley. Trendi was lucky enough to be chosen as one of four businesses to be chosen as recipients of this booster, receiving just over $85k for our project: “From purees and powders: using rescued foods for healthy soups”. We just get each other!

Innovation Is The Mission

McCauley says that CFIN is “vision driven”, just like Trendi. 

“It’s up to us, we feel, to champion innovation in the food sector. That means we’re always looking out for what’s new, what’s possible, and trying to help the people who have big ideas to test and validate them, and then ultimately, you know, create economic value for Canada.”

Innovation is the basis of Trendi’s mission. We’re focused on the future and using innovative solutions to propel us forward by using robotics to reduce food waste and ultimately provide accessible and healthy food to everyone. Christine Couvelier, Trendi’s President has been asking “What’s Possible?” for a long time now. She initiated the Food Waste Challenge where Trendi partners with culinary colleges across Canada to drive food innovation by challenging students to think about what can be created when thinking differently and more sustainably about food.

McCauley says that one of the main challenges the Canadian food sector faces is a “lack of end-to-end systems approach” and that problems are usually fixed with a temporary, band-aid solution.

“What are the other connector points, so that we can have full solutions to take out globally?” 

In terms of food waste, our linear economic system has many problem points and has seen some narrow solutions, but because they don’t tackle the system we can never have full solutions that completely eliminate the problem.

Get Involved!

To find innovation, CFIN is constantly reviewing research. McCauley noted that biotechnology, the bioavailability of food, and using food as medicine are major trends, all of which Trendi understands. With so much innovation happening, there has never been a more exciting time to be involved. We all want a healthy future for ourselves, our country and our planet and collaborating will only expedite the process and becoming a CFIN member is free and easy.

CFIN has a platform called YODL that connects members to new ideas, partners, funding, and resources to grow their business, increase their innovation capacity and find solutions to create change. YODL is for anybody who is working in the food business in Canada, as long as you care about food and you care about innovation. Having a platform like this creates a community of like-minded people that want a healthy future, offering new perspectives, inspiration and motivation to achieve sustainability. We know that big things are on the horizon and working alongside the CFIN community to further food innovation in Canada is only going to bring us closer to saving the world from food waste. 

Article written by:

Chloe Almeida, Marketing Coordinator

Chloe has always been interested in the “how” and “why” that create our social, cultural, and physical environment. With a background in health sciences, she is committed to spreading awareness and solving issues that affect public health and wellness.