Finalists have been selected for two $250,000 Grand Prizes and three $100,000 Growth Grants

CHICAGO – Oct. 27, 2021 – The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) today announced finalists for the Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge–an initiative which seeks to inspire and support passionate, creative, diverse and multidisciplinary teams to create game-changing innovations that will help transform the food system. Out of nearly 900 preliminary submissions, four finalists were selected in the Seeding The Future Grand Prize category, two of which will be awarded $250,000. Six finalists were selected for the Growth Grant, which will award $100,000 each to three winners.

“We are very excited about the submitted proposals, all from highly motivated multidisciplinary teams addressing significant issues facing our current food system,” said Bernhard van Lengerich, founder of Seeding The Future Foundation. “The submitted ideas for all award categories are very innovative with high impact potential to create a more safe, nutritious, sustainable, and equitable food system, resulting in food that is trusted, affordable and accessible by consumers. The remarkable response in this first year of our Challenge has inspired us tremendously, and we look forward to continue to develop an innovation pipeline to sustainably improve our food system in the coming years, benefitting the health of people and the environment.”

The Seeding The Future Grand Prize Finalists are:

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with North Carolina STATE University; AUDA NEPAD SANBio; SinnovaTek (US); National University of Lesotho (Lesotho), McCain (South Africa) for its project on advancing thermal processing to reduce food waste and address malnutrition. The purpose is to continue flow microwave sterilization to produce shelf stable products such as soups, beverages, pet foods, and baby foods with a high nutritional profile and affordable pricing.
  • International Rice Research Institute, Philippines for its arsenic safe rice varieties project which will deploy newly developed arsenic-excluding rice varieties that are much safer for human consumption in target arsenic-polluted regions to create socioeconomic and human health benefits.
  • Solar Freeze for its project on portable, solar-powered cold storage units for rural smallholder farmers of perishable produce. The purpose is to reduce post-harvest food loss that currently accounts for over 45 percent of fresh produce going to waste among rural farmers.
  • WorldFish for its nutrient-rich small fish production project intended to produce dried, small fish powder for the preservation of nutrient-dense fish for a healthy and affordable option for consumers especially those who need it most such as young children, and pregnant and lactating women.

In addition to the Grand Prize finalists, finalists for the Growth Grants are:

  • African Centre for Technology Studies in collaboration with Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute and United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi Office for its project which promotes enhanced access to solar drying technologies to smallholder farmers; thus, providing optimal dehydration of fresh produce for enhanced product quality and post-harvest management.
  • Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria-AGROSAVIA, for its impact assessment on nutrition related to an increase in the intake of biofortified beans and their agroecological production, the promotion of self-consumption, and the stimulation of short marketing cycles based on Information and Communication Technology tools.
  • Food Systems for the Future Institute (FSF) and Afya Feed Ltd., for its use of black soldier fly larvae to overcome the poultry and aquaculture industry feed affordability challenge. Through a partnership with Protix, a Dutch-based commercial black soldier larvae (bsl) producer, Afya and FSF will design and scale commercial production to provide an alternative bsl protein as a protein supplement in animal feeds.
  • iDE, for its project to establish community-managed vermicompost fertilizer enterprises that incorporate Trichoderma, a beneficial fungus that improves plant growth and yields while speeding up the composting process to transform organic farm and household waste into nutritious food for rural communities while acting as a proof-of-concept to catalyze replication across multiple regions.
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for its project integrating arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as bio-inoculants to boost banana production in East African Highlands and thereby deliver the food security and nutrition for small scale banana farmers without compromising the environmental, social, and economic aspects for future generations at regional and global levels.
  • Welthungerhilfe in partnership with Toothpick Company Ltd. for its project using a novel biological innovation to fight Striga (witchweed), the worst pest threat to food security in Africa. One of the first commercially approved bioherbicides in the world, selected strains of locally sourced fungi to help farmers safely and economically restore their crop yield.

An announcement regarding the eight Seed Grant winners is forthcoming and can be found on both and Winners of the Grand Prize and Growth Grant awards will be announced in January of 2022.

“IFT is thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Seeding The Future Foundation in launching The Challenge in its inaugural year,” said Corrine Calice, senior director of knowledge and learning, and experiences at IFT. “While we were initially uncertain about the response, we are delighted to receive applications from startups, nonprofits, universities, research institutions, and multi-organization collaborations, from more than 60 countries. We would like to thank those who have participated, congratulate the finalists, and express our excitement for announcing the winners of the Growth Grants and Grand Prizes in January 2022.”

The Challenge is funded by the Seeding The Future Foundation and is focused on empowering transdisciplinary teams to develop scalable and high impact innovations that reside at the intersection of three domains: safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet; sustainably produced; and accessible, appealing, affordable, and trusted by consumers. To incentivize innovation at all levels, including ideation, development, and distribution, the Challenge includes three levels of awards, totaling up to $1million annually.

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
The Seeding The Future Foundation is a private, non-profit organization, motivated by its core value that everyone should always have equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable, appealing, and trusted food. It 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 high impact innovations to improve food systems globally, technologies to reduce post-harvest losses in developing regions, as well as foundational work in academia and research. For more information, please visit

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