News Release

Canadian Food Innovation Network Awards More Than $1M Through Its Foodtech Next Program

The five projects will be the first to receive funding from CFIN’s new flagship program

GUELPH, ON, The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is investing $1,121,133 into five projects, valued at over $2M through the organization’s FoodTech Next Program. The winning projects are developing food safety, inventory management, and price analytics solutions that will be piloted in real-world conditions. 

The FoodTech Next funding recipients are:

App8 Incorporated (Ontario): Supply Chain Automation Enablement Project

Funding: $249,998.00

Pilot Partner: Confidential 

App8 is automating the foodservice guest purchasing experience to tackle staff shortage bottlenecks and rising operating costs in the foodservice industry. Through this project, App8 is bridging the gaps in AI and robotic foodservice operations to streamline operating systems and improve consumer purchasing experiences with a highly integrated, frictionless ordering platform.

BetterCart Analytics (Saskatchewan): Revolutionizing Price Analytics and Competitive Intelligence for Canada's Food Industry

Funding: $151,597.00

Pilot Partners: Fresh City Farms, Jordans Dorset Ryvita, Melitta Canada, and Distribution Canada Inc.

BetterCart Analytics' project will advance the price analytic sophistication and competitive intelligence capabilities of Canada's food and beverage-processors, manufacturers, and independent grocery retailers. BetterCart Analytics is bringing food sector stakeholders real-time and historical pricing data and analytics for every grocery product on retail shelves using machine learning and artificial intelligence. With a bank of over 5 billion product records currently and 38 million new pricing updates weekly from all e-commerce sites, BetterCart offers advanced analytics and competitive intelligence that enables companies to increase profit margins, operational efficiencies, and ROI.

CleanBands (Prince Edward Island): Development & Commercialization of an Enterprise Ready Hand Hygiene Solution

Funding: $244,974.00

Pilot Partner: Various Quick-Serve Restaurants in PEI

CleanBands will pilot a handwashing compliance solution with an international brand partner to advance the development and commercialization of their proprietary and first to market patented food safety system. The system will be tested in real-world locations at an enterprise scale. The system enhances overall food safety by bringing visibility, accountability, and added awareness to handwashing food safety within multiple food industry sectors.

Cyberworks Robotics (Ontario): Autonomous Self-Driving Tow Tugs for Food Distribution Center Logistics

Funding: $227,946.00

Pilot Partner: Weston Foods

Manually operated tow tugs and forklifts are used extensively in F&B distribution centres and production centers to move produce in and out of these facilities. Labour shortages and wage inflation are crippling the ability of distribution centre operators and factories to assign staff to drive these machines. Cyberworks has developed an autonomous self-driving technology that allows existing manual tow tugs and forklifts to become fully automated without changes to the facility infrastructure, thereby mitigating labour shortages, reducing operating costs, improving worker safety, and increasing operational efficiency through logistical workflow optimization. This project involves integrating their new self-driving technology onto a conventional manual tow tug system or forklift and pilot testing in a live F&B facility.

Relocalize (Quebec): Demonstration of the World’s First Autonomous Micro-Factory for Food & Beverage

Funding: $246,618.00

Pilot Partner: US Retailer/Distributor

This project encompasses the deployment of the world's first autonomous micro-factory for food and beverage at their launch customer’s facility. This system will produce packaged ice hyper-locally on-demand at their distribution centre, thereby eliminating upstream logistics and transportation costs. The result will prove that distributed production can reduce product costs by up to 30%, while eliminating up to 90% of transportation CO2. As part of the demonstration phase, the system will produce ice that will be distributed in up to 71 retail grocery stores.

These projects are the first to receive funding through CFIN’s FoodTech Next Program. To date, across all programs, CFIN has invested $8M into 32 Canadian projects. In addition to the funding, the FoodTech Next Program creates supportive innovation communities around each company to help their project succeed and move their business to scale readiness.


“These projects are a great example of how FoodTech Next is sparking collaboration and innovation within the food industry. For foodtech companies, this program provides a fantastic opportunity to pilot their innovations and secure new business. The pilot partners and adopters have the chance to test and adopt game changing innovations in a de-risked manner that have the potential to impact their bottom line. It’s a true win-win for everyone involved.”

– Joseph Lake

CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network

“Ensuring Canadian agri-food innovators have access to the latest technologies is crucial for Canada to remain a global leader in food production. That’s why our government is proud to support these innovative projects that will enable the food industry to optimize supply chains and be part of Canada's new green economy.”

– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

"Digital foodservice working in tandem with AI and robotics is revolutionizing dining, creating a future that delivers delightful dining experiences for guests, and streamlined operations for foodservice brands."

-Elias Hage

CEO, App8 Incorporated

“The Canadian Food Innovation Network's FoodTech Next Program is groundbreaking and will actively change the landscape for technology startups in Canada. Our team at BetterCart Analytics is incredibly grateful to have received this award from CFIN, and to be the recipient of funding that will empower us to innovate more rapidly on behalf of food sector stakeholders across the country. We are looking forward to working with our partners throughout the process and harnessing the power of our industry-leading technology to bring them value.”

--Melanie Morrison 

CEO, BetterCart Analytics

“CleanBands is very excited to begin a partnership with CFIN. This FoodTech Next award will help us improve food safety by addressing a persistent industry problem.”

--Dave Iwankow

CEO, CleanBands

"Cyberworks Robotics is pleased to be working with CFIN to bring advanced Self-Driving Autonomous Vehicle technology to the Canadian Food & Beverage industry as a means of strengthening Canada's food supply chain and food security.”

-- Vivek Burhanpurkar

CEO, Cyberwork Robotics

"Hyper-localized manufacturing eliminates the cost, risk and CO2 of middle-mile food logistics, and we will prove this in 2023 with the support of CFIN." 

--Wayne McIntyre

CEO, Relocalize


FoodTech Next is a unique funding opportunity for early-stage Canadian technology firms who seek to be part of, or sell to, the wider food industry. The program allows companies to demonstrate and pilot their innovation in operational environments to prove their solutions and validate the return on investment for the food sector. The overarching goal of FoodTech Next is to accelerate the commercialization of Canadian innovation by generating first demonstration opportunities.

The program is administered by CFIN, which is supported by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.


The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is a national member-based organization that’s stimulating transformative and transferrable innovation across the Canadian food sector. We connect the Canadian food ecosystem to fresh insights, ideas, and technologies to elevate their business and increase their innovation capacity. You can become a CFIN member (for free!) in less than five minutes


FoodTech Next Program Page

CFIN Membership

CFIN Media Page


Jamil A. Karim

Communications Director

Canadian Food Innovation Network