CHICAGO – May 6, 2021 – The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) today launched the first annual Seeding The Future Global Food Systems Challenge, an initiative which seeks to inspire and support passionate, creative, diverse and multidisciplinary teams of innovators, scientists and engineers to create game-changing innovations that will help transform our food systems. 

“As stewards of our food system, we all hold a great responsibility to lead, inspire and advocate for change,” said Christie Tarantino-Dean, Chief Executive Officer at IFT. “We’re honored to collaborate with Seeding The Future Foundation and feel strongly that the Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge is an important step towards advancing the science of food and other disciplines and applications across the global food system.”

The Challenge is funded by the Seeding The Future Foundation, and has been initiated by Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of the Seeding The Future Foundation. The Challenge is focused on inspiring multidisciplinary teams to develop scalable innovations that target one or more of three domains: (I) safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet; (II) sustainably produced; and (III) accessible, appealing, affordable, and trusted by consumers. To incentivize innovations at different stages of maturity, the Challenge includes three levels of awards, totaling up to $1M annually:

  • $25K Seed Grants: Awarded to organizations that are planting and nurturing high-potential, innovative ideas and have developed prototypes and/or initial proof of concept demonstrating that their innovation is feasible. 
  • $100K Growth Grants: Awarded to organizations that have demonstrated that their innovation is doable at least on a small scale and have developed early projections for both economic feasibility at scale and the impact potential to transform the food system.
  • $250K Seeding The Future Grand Prizes: Awarded to organizations that have created innovations that are scalable, economically feasible, trusted by and compelling to consumers, and demonstrated major impact potential to transform the food system. 

“We believe that advances and discoveries in science and technology, as well as creative new approaches and collaborations across disciplines and cultures will lead to innovations that should help transform our food systems. Most impactful innovations, regardless which stage of the food chain they may affect, consider the consumer as critical enabler of a flourishing food system,” said Bernhard van Lengerich. “We hope that this annual Challenge will inspire creative innovators, scientists and teams across disciplines, cultures and geographies to help create a food system which enables equitable access to safe, nutritious and affordable food for everyone, while improving the health of our planet.”

Applications for the Challenge will open on June 7. Additional details on the application process, eligibility and awards can be found here.

About Institute of Food Technologists
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from 95 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world's greatest food challenges. Our organization works to ensure that our members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. We believe that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit

About Seeding The Future
Driven by its core value that everyone should always have equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable, appealing and trusted food, the Seeding The Future Foundation, a private, non-profit organization, seeks to inspire innovative solutions that can help transform the global food system to be more sustainable and benefit the health of people and the environment. The Foundation provides seed-funding and support to promising ideas and innovations focused on high impact innovations to improve food systems, scalable pilots for post-harvest loss reduction and food processing in Africa, and foundational work in academia and research. For more information, please visit

Media Contact
Caroline Harvey
INK Communications for IFT
[email protected]

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