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Defining Innovation vs R&D

Posted on July 05 2016 | Author: Doug Knox

In a report from the Canadian Government’s-The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Senate, entitled - Innovation in Agriculture: The Key to Feeding a Growing Population, June 2014 , the following excerpt is an attempt to position “Innovation”. Here, we will try to expand definitions to include the global community views.

The follow-on from these definitions and the proposed financial input for innovation is to be able to measure the impact of these investments on the economic health of the nation.

Innovation could be interpreted from different perspectives. Agencies who defined innovation believe that innovation can result from the transformation of knowledge, a new idea, or a technological breakthrough to improve or create new business or manufacturing products, services or processes. However, as one witness pointed out in citing a definition from the Business Development Bank of Canada, innovation can also be stimulated by vision and entrepreneurship.

Innovation is really about responding to change in a creative way. It’s about generating new ideas, conducting R&D, improving processes or revamping products and services. At another level, it’s also about a mindset in your business: one where your staff, whether in the executive offices or on the shop floor, are always focused on continuous improvement and constantly thinking outside of the box. (Mr. Rory McAlpine, Vice-President, Government and Industry Relations, Maple Leaf Foods, 25 April 2013)

According to witnesses, innovation must also create added value. Innovation is not limited to research activities; it is therefore imperative that the innovation continuum include a commercialization stage with prototype development or a pilot project and its transfer to the field. Support activities relating to training and extension are also needed to facilitate the adoption of changes resulting from the innovation continuum. Innovation is also driven by the establishment of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework as well as appropriate financial support measures. Innovation in Agriculture: The Key to Feeding a Growing Population, Page 37. 

Innovation Definitions (Based on OECD "Oslo Manual", 3rd edition, 2005)
Definitions compiled by: Rajnish Tiwari  20008   Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)

  • An innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations.
  • The  minimum requirement  for  an  innovation  is  that  the  product,  process,  marketing method or organizational method must be new (or significantly improved) to the firm.
  • Innovation activities are all scientific, technological, organizational, financial and commercial steps which actually, or are intended to, lead to the implementation of innovations. Innovation activities also include R&D that is not directly related to the development of a specific innovation.
  • An innovative firm is one that has implemented an innovation during the period under review.

Main Types of Innovation
1) A product innovation is the introduction of a good or service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness or other functional characteristics. Product innovations can utilize new knowledge or technologies, or can be based on new uses or combinations of existing knowledge or technologies.

2) A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software. Process innovations can be intended to decrease unit costs of production or delivery, to increase quality, or to produce or deliver new or significantly improved products.

3) A marketing innovation is the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing. Marketing innovations are aimed at better addressing customer needs, opening up new markets, or newly positioning a firm's product on the market, with the objective of increasing the firm's sales.

4) An organizational innovation is the implementation of a new organizational method in the firm's business practices, workplace organization or external relations. Organizational innovations can be intended to increase a firm's performance by reducing administrative costs or transaction costs, improving workplace satisfaction (and thus labor productivity), gaining access to non-tradable assets (such as non-codified external knowledge) or reducing costs of supplies.

Defining Research and Development (R&D) (Based on OECD's "Frascati Manual", 2002 edition)
In accordance with the approach advocated by the Frascati Manual, this defines R&D as  "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications". The term "research and experimental development" is used as synonymous to the term "research and development" and both are abbreviated by the expression "R&D".

The term R&D covers three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development:

  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
  • Applied research is also original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge.  It  is,  however,  directed  primarily  towards  a  specific  practical  aim  or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience, which is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed. R&D covers both formal R&D in R&D

The boundaries of R&D: Clarification of specific cases
The basic criterion for distinguishing R&D from related activities is the presence in R&D of an appreciable element of novelty and the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty.

  • A prototype is an original model constructed to include all the technical characteristics and performances of the new product. The design, construction and testing of prototypes normally falls within the scope of R&D.
  • The construction and operation of a pilot plant is a part of R&D as long as the principal purposes are to obtain experience and to compile engineering and other data.
  • Those elements of industrial design work, which include plans and drawings aimed at defining procedures, technical specifications and operational features necessary to the conception, development and manufacturing of new products and processes.
  • Clinical trials are divided into four standard phases, three of which take place before permission to manufacture is accorded. By convention, clinical trial phases 1, 2 and 3 can be treated as R&D. Phase 4 clinical trials, which continue testing the drug or treatment after approval and manufacture, are treated as R&D only if they bring about a further scientific or technological advance.


Doug Knox
Vice President of Technology

Innovation In Agriculture: The Key To Feeding A Growing Population, June 2014
Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 3rd Edition
Frascati Manual 2002: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development


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Cultivating Creativity and Inspiring Innovation

Posted on June 15 2016 | Author: Mary Dimou

Entrepreneurship has emerged as a feasible and exhilarating career for many millennials and provides an opportunity for baby boomers seeking change. In fact, the support of this community is absolutely overwhelming. Governments are offering non-dilutive funding and grants for new research and development; while, sophisticated investors are seeking to diversify their portfolios with high-risk opportunities in exchange for equity, control, and hopefully, large returns.

You’ve likely given some thought to joining the ranks of entrepreneurship; and have asked yourself: Where do you go and how do you start? 

First things first, a great idea can manifest in a multitude of ways, can be thought of anywhere, and can transcend into a variety of industries. It generally starts with a state of mind and a helpful reminder that anyone has the potential to be “creative”; and therefore, “innovate”. 

So let’s talk about two of the words you’ll hear in your early stages – “creativity” and “innovation”.  What are they? Can we define them? And, why do so many definitions exist? To be honest, there are many schools of thoughts pertaining to bolstering creative thinking and implementing innovation into business practices.

Here are two basic definitions to start with:

  • Creativity is a “mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside of the box, which results in innovative or different approaches to a particular task”1.
  • Innovation is “the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay”1.

In the start-up and small business network, an inordinate level of creativity and novelty are expressed through a variety of outlets and avenues; for instance: a new idea, a novel process, or an original solution to an existing problem. Your support can start at an academic institution, can be housed in an Incubator, and/or be nurtured holistically at an Accelerator.

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, developing creativity into a habit is critical.

Robert Epstein, PhD, a psychologist focused on the concept of “routine creativity” has conducted research that correlates high creativity and innovation into four core skill sets2.

  1. Capturing new ideas2 – be equipped with a notebook and writing instrument; or, even record new ideas on your phone or tablet.
  2. Seeking out challenging tasks2 – brainstorm different solutions to tasks you’re familiar with, or as a brain teaser, take on tasks deemed impossible and offer just as improbable solutions.
  3. Broadening your knowledge2 – read articles in unrelated fields, watch a documentary on a subject of interest, explore international business practices.
  4. Surrounding yourself with interesting things and people2 – stimulating conversation with interesting friends or family with diverse backgrounds, travelling to new places, or altering your workspace with new gadgets and memorabilia.

Most importantly, don’t get frustrated – although researchers have just started scratching the surface of creativity; most will agree that an optimistic frame of mind and cheerful attitude are fundamental. Stress, lack of sleep, and disarray inhibit the creative process and new idea generation. Perpetuating an environment conducive to creative thinking will come in hand through many of life’s challenges and will only aid in positive mental health. Whether, you’re heading down the path of entrepreneurship or perhaps seeking to improve existing processes in your own workplace – a creative outlook is always your alley.


Mary Dimou
Senior Analyst, Regulatory Affairs & Sustainability 



1. BusinessDictionary.com
2. American Psychological Association. The Science of Creativity. 

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What’s The Key Ingredient for Innovation in Food and Agribusiness?

Posted on May 06 2016 | Author: Admin

A recent article in a business publication reported that the most overused business buzzword today is “innovation.” Clearly, everyone is talking about innovation, but how can it be implemented successfully?

The key to unlocking innovation in today’s marketplace is having the right talent in place - leaders with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics.

Truly innovative companies look for people with the ability to capitalize on the company’s creative and financial resources all along the supply chain. They recognize the following realities when it comes to their human talent:

Innovation has to be system-wide - across the supply chain, and include finance and marketing.

Paul Miller, Managing Director and Food Sector Lead for Kincannon & Reed, said, “We are seeing the same challenge to innovate across all slices of the supply chain - in large and small companies, ingredient companies, packaging and equipment companies, as well as food processors and marketers.”

“For example, organic products have had impressive growth and companies see opportunities there. But one challenge in creating these products is determining what the supply line should look like.” Miller said, “For instance, pastures with cattle or fields with corn have to be pesticide-free for three years as a first step to organic certification. As a result, we see some innovative food companies trying new approaches such as buying farmland directly.”

“Meanwhile, the ingredient companies are telling us: ‘We need people who understand consumer insights and can help us create solutions for our customers to satisfy their wants and needs,’” Miller added. “On the Research and Development and Product Development side, many business-to-business clients no longer rely solely on their customers to tell them what consumers are thinking. They are taking the initiative to understand on their own what is driving consumers, so they can innovate earlier.”

Hand in glove with this trend, the large food companies say they are looking to their suppliers not just for solutions, but for ideas. They want suppliers who can say, for example, “We’ve found new ways to take sodium out of products and still maintain the taste.”

Miller said, “Innovation is not just taking consumer insights and creating a new product. It’s looking at how the product fits within the life stages of consumers, then packaging and selling in more sophisticated and ‘honest’ ways.“

As a result, we are doing more searches all along the supply chain for roles with job titles such as Chief Product and Innovation Officer,” Miller said.

Innovation requires leaders who can drive flexibility in a company’s operations and manufacturing.

Smart companies know they can no longer base their manufacturing strategy solely on long production runs to be efficient and hold down unit costs.

Miller explained, “In key operations and supply chain roles, clients talk about the need to be innovative in manufacturing and supply chain processes to allow for more efficient change-overs and short-runs. It’s the same in establishing and securing supply lines. Suppliers say they need to do this for their customers, particularly their clients with cutting edge products or packaging.”

“We see large food companies backward integrating to achieve agility,” said Miller. “They want executives who understand this approach and who have done it.”

Companies are achieving innovation through “co-creation” and “science community,” as well as through mergers and acquisitions.

Michael Whitney, Managing Partner and Region Leader for Kincannon & Reed in Europe, said, “Some large multi-nationals have made huge strides using co-creation. They have assembled a cadre of high-quality innovation managers from both R&D and Commercial to lead their strategic global projects. In parallel, they have increased the level of understanding of science and technology among non-technical people, particularly in Marketing and Sales.”

Whitney continued: “Innovation from Mergers & Acquisitions can be a key growth driver if the companies get it right, but sometimes they struggle to extract the maximum synergies from the integration. There are other challenges. For example, the new entity may give scientists too much free rein or, conversely, because the acquiring firm has a different attitude to risk, there is less freedom to innovate. Others report that although they accessed new value streams, their development and execution strengths have been at risk as they try to harness the new shared capabilities.”

Says Miller: “A key success factor in these mergers and acquisitions is how the larger company manages the smaller ones without stifling creativity or harming the smaller company’s brand.”

How does the demand for innovation affect your talent search?

Miller stated, “We explore innovation as a desired quality in every conversation we have with clients about a potential hire, regardless of the role’s function or level. Food and ingredient companies want people who can identify trends and consumer insights, and move quickly to address them. They want people who can envision using the full capabilities of an organization and understand what a flexible supplier looks like.”

Whitney concluded: “Because so much is riding on bringing in the right person, we engage in a very deliberate process to ensure we present a slate of candidates with the combination of skills, experience, and personal characteristics that will fit with the innovation goals and culture of each particular client.”

Article provided by: www.KRsearch.com

About Kincannon & Reed
Kincannon & Reed recruits leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy. Their focus is on the interrelated realms of food, agribusiness, and life science. Their clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as investment funds, financial institutions, industry associations, universities, and non-profit and development organizations. This sector knowledge streamlines the search process and enables them to better asses a candidates organizational fit and more compellingly present to them a client’s opportunity. In addition, the principals at Kincannon & Reed are former senior executives from the sectors they serve. This distinctive difference allows them to understand at a personal level, not just at an intellectual level, the environment in which you operate. The result is a quality conversation around your needs and a smoother recruitment process. To learn more about Kincannon & Reed, visit: www.KRsearch.com

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Consumer Business Economic Update

Posted on April 25 2016 | Author: Admin

Key indicators combine with analyst sentiments, search engine and social media trends to provide a revealing snapshot of Canada’s consumer business sector.

The thirteenth edition of Deloitte’s Consumer Business economic update for Canada provides a snapshot of key business indicators across the retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and travel, hospitality and leisure (THL) sectors.

The newsletter also aggregates search-related data for online travel, products and shopping with social media trends and analyst sentiment.

Economic indicators
The Canadian economy experienced a 0.8% real GDP growth rate in Q4 2015.

Retail trends
Same store sales year-over-year growth increased by 11 bps from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015.

Travel, hospitality and leisure trends
The majority of key indicators in travel and leisure continue to be positive for this quarter, with hospitality as an exception.

Consumer packaged goods
CPG sales experienced a lower year-over-year growth in most categories in Q4 2015 compared to the growth experienced in Q3 2015.

Social media
Kijiji, a free Canadian local classifieds site has continued to retain its position (as in the previous three quarters) as the top online search in the Shopping category by Canadians in Q4 2015. The second and third positions on the list in Q4 2015 were “walmart”, the American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of discount department stores and “netflix”, the American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media.

View the full report.
For more information, please contact the Deloitte team.

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The Maritimes Are Keen on Agri-Tech

Posted on April 14 2016 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

Earlier this year, the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations delivered the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, which was comprised of two events and attracted nearly 200 people between them.  The event series included the Accelerating Agri-Technology Innovation Summit in Truro, Nova Scotia from February 10-11, 2016, and the Accelerating Agri-Entrepreneurs & Innovation event in Charlottetown, PEI from March 21-22, 2016.

These events brought together agri-businesses, industry stakeholders, academia and government to explore and promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in agri-technology. The focus was to build on the region’s innovative agriculture, agri-food and bio-based products economy. 

Attendees had the opportunity to network, make valuable connections and learn about the resources that can support the path of innovation and the market.  The event series also created a platform for the attendees to contribute to the conversation on the future of the agri-technology and collaborate with leading industry experts in Atlantic Canada.

The event series included keynote and panel presentations that provided agri-businesses, and other attendees with commercialization guidance as it pertains to this agri-technology sector.  These presentations ranged from understanding the services available to support the journey to market; how to build a successful business model that will attract investors and strategic partners; how to react in the market; and understanding what funding is available and how to prepare in order to access it.

Presentations were also made by agri-businesses, showcasing their innovations, and sharing their industry insights, the highs and lows from their path to market and what the future of agri-technology looks like for them.

The Accelerating Agri Innovation event series attracted nearly 200 attendees between the two events, with approximately an even divide between agri-business; industry stakeholders and service providers (both public and private); government and academia. 

The event series had support and panelist speakers from the following key organizations involved in the agri-technology ecosystem:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
PEI Business Federation Ltd.
PEI Business Women’s Association
Dalhousie University
Springboard Atlantic
PEI Association of Newcomers
National Research Council Canada
                  Perennia BioVentures
Farm Credit Canada
Bioenterprise Capital Ventures
Deloitte LLP
Farm Centre
Natural Products Canada Inc
Canada’s Smartest Kitchen
Community Business Development Corporation
Bioenterprise Corporation
PEI Rural Action Centre
Innovation PEI 

Throughout the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, many trends within the agri-technology and Maritimes ecosystem were identified.

  • The pathways to market for agri-technology innovations and businesses are often very unique compared to other technologies.
  • The agri-businesses who are based in the Maritime regions have demonstrated strong market potential to succeed within their region and beyond.
  • The size and scale of a business does not measure market success.
  • There are many valuable resources in the Maritimes dedicated to supporting innovation and technology development.  These resources and organizations are also eager to collaborate towards enhancing the commercialization process.
  • Some of the top priorities of organizations in the ecosystem include being able to mitigate risk and foster success for the agri-technology ecosystem.
  • The Maritime Provinces are home to a significant amount of funding sources and opportunities that companies of any stage or sector could potentially access. 

It is evident that the east coast is driven to see the agri-technology sector prosper and the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will continue to lead and support the commercialization of agri-businesses.

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager


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What Happens When Farming Goes High-Tech?

Posted on May 29 2015 | Author: Admin


Soil maps, GPS guidance, and even drones are becoming critical tools for modern farmers. These methods of precision agriculture can help increase yields and efficiency—and save farmers a surprising sum along the way.

By 2050 we'll need to feed two billion more people. Click here for a special eight-month series exploring how we can do that—without overwhelming the planet:

Watch more Food by the Numbers videos:

Click here to view original video

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The Evolving Food Landscape

Posted on February 11 2015 | Author: Jessica Taylor

When reflecting on 2014’s major trends such as the local food movement, transparency and the clean label, it is undeniable that consumer demand is driving innovation and change in the food sector. The Information Age has created a generation of consumers who are used to having answers at their fingertips and they expect the same from the food they are buying. Today’s consumer wants to know what they are eating, where it’s from and how it travelled through the supply chain.

So what should you keep your eyes open for this year? According to Innova Database here are a few of the trends we can expect in 2015:

Protein: Old Trend, New Sources
Consumers are still looking to increase their protein intake and we will continue to see more high-protein products enter the market but the difference this year will be the source. New sources of protein such as pea and milk will be introduced and novel sources like algae and insects will also hit the market. That’s right, last year’s “bug trend” is expected to continue! However, as we saw in 2014 insect-based products will be picked up quicker in Europe than here in North America. Keep your eyes open for products like Chirps, cricket chips, and Chocolate Chirp Cookies by Six Foods.

Gearing Up for a New Generation
Millennials, the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers, are now becoming the primary customers of food products. These individuals are 15 to 35 years old and are very different than any consumer the food industry has seen before. Unlike their parents, and generations before them, Millennials are very concerned about the story behind the products they are consuming; brand loyalty is a thing of the past. In 2015, we expect to see the food industry respond with marketing geared towards Millennials – more storytelling, more information.

From Clean to Clear: Changing Labels
With the consumer growing increasingly interested in their diet, food labels have evolved to provide appropriate information. In recent years food labels have become “clean” with statements such as: no additives; no preservatives; nutritious, wholesome ingredients; and claims about consumer health benefits. This year we will see another evolution of the food label, from clean to clear. The clear label will boost simple claims and hone in on the transparency trend providing consumers with a better idea of what they are eating.

Today’s consumer is all about the DIY. They want to Instagram a photo of their Tuscan Tortellini Vegetable Soup, Berry Green Smoothie and the incredible breakfast burrito they made this morning, but they want it to be as convenient as possible. These same Foodies who are looking to make gourmet meals at home are also in a rush and convenience is of utmost importance. We are a society that has come to expect instant gratification, even when it comes to food preparation. This year we should expect to see the food industry cater to this demand with pre-cut fruits and veggies and other products to speed up meal prep time.

The Rise of the Snack
Finally, more and more consumers are eating meals on their own and on-the-go. Many people have shied away from large family-style meals due to their increasingly busy lifestyles and the difficulty of finding a time where everyone can sit down. In 2015 the food industry should pick up on this trend and launch more “snack foods” to replace traditional meals. Breakfast is no stranger to this movement, but products this year will aim to replace lunch and dinner options with snacks as well!

Through a snap shot of the food industry we can see that many changes are on the horizon. As society evolves, so too must the food industry in order to meet the needs of the ever-changing consumer. It looks like innovation is the name of the 2015 food game – who is up to the challenge?

Jessica Taylor
Business Analyst, Food, Nutrition & Health

PR News Wire
Food Navigator

Photo Credit: iStock

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Ontario Biomass Producer Cooperative Field Event

Posted on October 08 2014 | Author: Doug Knox

On September 5, 2014, biomass growers and interested farm producers gathered to exchange information and views on the potential for purpose grown biomass crops. The event was hosted by Don Nott at his farm facility near Clinton, Ontario. The event attracted close to a hundred participants from near and far.  Some notable experts from Quebec and Pennsylvania were in attendance, and brought valuable insights into the specifics of switchgrass — in particular, for new genetics that exhibit better yields, quality and early vigor among other traits. While the crop is showing great promise from an agronomic perspective, there is still a great deal to be done to develop a market for the harvest.

The current information on the business case for purpose grown biomass can be found in the 2012 assessment study and available from the OFA at the following link.

Anyone interested in acquiring more information on the association can contact Urs Eggimann, urs.eggimann@ontariobiomass.com.

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Biological Crop Input Products

Posted on May 28 2014 | Author: Ingrid Fung

Biologically based crop input products are substances that are derived from non-synthetic, naturally occurring sources such as microbes, biochemicals, and minerals. Like their synthetic counterparts, biological crop input products are designed to either limit plant stress (crop protection products) or maximize plant health (yield enhancement products). Rising regulatory scrutiny of novel synthetic crop inputs, and increasing weed and pest resistance to long-standing, often over-used chemicals has resulted in soaring interest in developing biologically-derived options.

Although biologically derived products have been around for over 20 years, previous iterations have achieved limited uptake.  In the past, over-marketing of biologicals, lack of performance consistency, and over-optimistic product claims have led to a negative perception of biological products among growers. 

Currently an expansion interest in biological crop input products is occurring, driven by new research tools, novel synergies with synthetic chemical inputs, and major corporate investments.  New research tools have enabled the elucidation of biological modes of action, as well as the development of regional application practices to mitigate environmental affects on performance.  This has greatly increased the performance consistency of many biological crop input products. The development of biological products that can be used with synthetic chemistries has changed the way in which biological products are used.  Today most successful biological products are marketed as part of a crop input package, to be applied in concert with synthetic crop chemistries.   For example Poncho Votivo™, a crop protection product produced by Bayer Crop Science, is a combination of a traditional fungicide product with a biological product.  As a part of an overall crop input strategy, biological products have the potential to incrementally increase crop performance and yield above those achieved by existing crop treatment packages.

Many companies now look to biological crop input products, not only as a means of accessing niche markets, but as a means of improving current product offerings by adding biologicals to existing crop input products and product packages. This increasing corporate interest towards biological products is exemplified by a series of high-profile acquisitions of leading biological firms, such as the acquisition of AgraQuest (biological crop protection and yield enhancement) by Bayer CropScience, Becker Underwood (inoculants) by BASF Crop Protection and Pasteuria Bioscience (nematode control) and Devgen (biological disease inhibitor technology) by Syngenta Crop Protection.

Biological products show a great deal of promise to not only improve upon synthetic crop chemistries, but also provide greener alternatives. As investment and corporate interest in biological crop input products continues to grow, it will be very interesting to see the innovative products that will be developed. 

Ingrid Fung
Business Analyst, Plant & Animal Science

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Minor Use Pesticides

Posted on May 07 2014 | Author: Tom Dowler

The cost of generating sufficient field data, as well as the time required to move through the Pest Management Agency (PMRA) regulatory system can be prohibitive if a significant return on investment is expected from registering pesticide products for use on small acreage specialty crops. As a result, many pesticide suppliers choose to focus on trialing new products only on crop types with large acreages, allowing them to access relatively large markets upon gaining regulatory approval and launching the product. This has led to the availability of a large number of solutions for producers growing major row crops, but has left producers of small acreage specialty crops with limited options to combat pest issues prevalent in their fields. Some of these under-served specialty crops include ginseng, quinoa and hemp, as well as many fruit and vegetable crops. Many of these crop types are generating significant interest in natural health product and functional food markets providing a long-term opportunities for Canadian producers. Before acreages of some new, low acreage specialty crops can expand, effective pest solutions must be provided to lower risk to producers.

The Canadian Biopesticides and Minor Use Workshop, held in the spring each year (this year March 25-27th), has been developed to address major pesticide solutions required for specialty crops.  Attending this meeting are producers, government crop specialists, regulators, and pesticide suppliers.  These groups come together each year to identify major pest issues prevalent in smaller acreage crops in Canada, identify products on the market or moving through the regulatory system that have not been labeled for minor use areas of need, match the potential solutions to the issues, and prioritize several development projects targeting registration of new solutions. This is a valuable process that allows for producers to be better equipped to deal with pests by the next growing season. The meeting is a proactive dialogue between the participants, and has led to many positive outcomes over the 10+ years it has been running.

Some takeaways from this year’s meeting include:

  • Spotted Wing Drosophola remains a significant problem for many specialty crops including tender fruits, berries, and grapes. There is no near term solution available.
  • Wire worm, present in soil, is currently leading to losses in potatoes and several other crop types. There are limited solutions.
  • Bioenterprise client, Anatis Bioprotection ranked high as a potential solution for several significant minor use issues of outdoor food crops and ornamentals.
  • Nematodes have persisted as an issue across a number of crop types including berries and apples

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analytst

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Medical Marijuana Program Regulations

Posted on April 24 2014 | Author: Doug Knox

The recent change in the Medical Marijuana regulations has resulted in a flurry of activity in attempts by many entrepreneurs to establish a licensed growing facility. With the exit of the government’s involvement with the growing operations and the discontinuing of the licenses to grow for personal use by individuals, the new government regulations for commercial production growing is an attempt to mitigate the growing need for the prescribed products.

To date, there are twelve licensed operators in or very near production of their first crop. There are locations in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. However, there are a huge number of applicants in the license queue.

License seekers face several hurdles in their quest.

  • Applicants must present Health Canada with a comprehensive plan for the proposed site including an acceptable security implementation for the proposed site.
  • Depending on the location facility, the security build-out requirements could require implementation costs upward of $1 million or more. The plan must be executed before production begins.
  • There will be no direct marketing to prescribed patients.
  • Producers must ship directly to prescribed patients by secure courier.
  • Current financing options are limited since none of the major banks are willing to enter into the risk associated with the projects.
  • Private investment is the most likely course. At least one of the companies has secured financing from US capital sources.

The Tweed facility in the decommissioned Hershey building in Smith’s Falls is the first to become a public company. Trading for the company commenced April 4,2014.

“Tweed rose to $2.52 at 2:07 p.m. in Toronto Friday, up 183% from the issue price of 89 cents based on a private placement on March 7. The shares sank from an opening price of $5.10 at the start of public trading and were the third-most traded in Canada with 9.64 million shares changing hands.” (Financial Post 2014-04-04)

It will be interesting to follow the list of licensees as the industry establishes itself!

Check out the list at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/info/list-eng.php

Doug Knox
VP Technology

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Food Trends 2014

Posted on January 28 2014 | Author: Jessica Bowes

There was more to 2013 than quinoa and Greek yogurt. Consumers around the world voiced their opinions on GMO labeling; the US Food and Drug Administration banned use of trans fats from the American food supply, and; Europe dealt with a horsemeat scandal that left consumers lacking trust in the food industry.  As a result, 2014 will bring more attention to controversial labeling and regulatory debates; new superfoods will breakthrough to mainstream manufacturing and retail, and; a stronger effort will be made to reduce waste across the supply chain. In no particular order, here are a few other trends to watch for this year.

Origin labeling and traceability
Scares like the horsemeat scandal have consumers demanding to know where their food is coming from, so companies will have to work to gain/re-gain consumer trust through origin labeling and traceability programs. According to Innova, this is a major trend to watch for as manufactures actively market this to consumers and as there are more global products launched featuring the word ‘origin’ for claim purposes.

Look out for the small guy
Being connected isn’t just for the consumer. The rapid rise in popularity of social media platforms continues to offer small-scale innovators the chance to realize new business opportunities in both domestic and export markets. This trend speaks to the big-trend potential small manufacturers have through the development of high quality and distinct products for niche markets. 

Nothing beats breakfast
Breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. In 2014, consumers will continue to look for more protein in their diets, especially at breakfast. The convenient, protein-rich breakfast food category, which includes products such as breakfast biscuits and ready-to-drink shakes, will continue to grow. Examples of products that are already making a big marketing push include Belvita and Milk2Go Sport.

Bugs, anyone?
As protein remains a strong trend, alternative sources are a targeted need for food manufacturers. Though the US, Canada and Europe have long been adverse to the idea of consuming bugs as a source of nutrition, the rest of the world has been eating insects as a source of unconventional protein. Bugs have a much less of an environmental impact than other animals, they require little to no land, and many species consume waste products therefore eliminating the reliance on feed.  Consuming insects is gaining some interest in the West in forward-thinking countries such as Denmark, but the biggest opportunity involves food security for the impoverished and malnourished communities of the world. Late last year, a team of MBA students from McGill University won the $1M Hult Prize for a project that aims to improve the availability of nutritious food to underprivileged communities around the world by providing them with insect protein infused flour. For more information on this project, click here.

Other trends to watch for:

  • Naturally functional whole food – despite the regulatory minefield that is “natural”, the success of this product category will continue to increase. Maple water has been predicted as the next coconut water in this category by a number of online sources, and experts believe that marketing will be a key component to the success of these products.
  • Weight wellness – Rather than addressing weight management with a specific category of food products, companies will be more successful with a holistic approach to products that touch on trends such as gluten free, high protein, less sugar, and using natural ingredients.
  • Slow energy – Although we tend to think of glycemic index in reference to diabetes, slow or ‘sustained’ energy appeals to the mass market. Product developers are turning to complex carbohydrates such as oats, barley and millet as ingredients, as well as dairy protein’s ability to slow down digestibility, delivering slow energy.
  • Better-for-you snacking – finding the right balance of health and taste will be key for food manufacturers addressing this trend.
  • Interactive packaging – allowing manufacturers to provide more information to the consumer. This could include touch-sensitive elements or more technology.

Jessica Bowes
Senior Business Analyst, Food Nutrition & Health

Food Trend Links:
Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru
Canadian Food Insights

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Innovation and Commercialization Part 4 of 4

Posted on December 17 2013 | Author: Admin

Regulations - a Trajectory
Addressing a Life Sciences Ontario audience recently, Cameron Piron, CEO, Synaptive Medical (2nd start-up venture for this 30-something Canadian, having sold his first company for $85M+) summed up the regulatory barriers which impact on his solution-focused medical devices (used by 18/20 of the top US Cancer Centers):

  • Bar constantly changing as technology and market changes
  • No world-wide synchronization
  • Regulatory environment moves opposite to innovation - understandable

He gets it – understandably. All life science legislation must be scientifically sound.  Regulations lag behind the laboratory, leveling the playing field.

The Anomaly of Organic Food
UK organic food regulations became law in 1987, a decade before the dormant sector erupted.  The basis of all organic food trade today, the UK organic food regs stem from guidelines and standards set in 1967 by an NGO, the UK Soil Association.  Two major forces in the 1990’s dramatically reduced UK consumer confidence in conventional farming:  the launch of genetically-modified food, closely followed by an unrelated outbreak of BSE disease in UK cattle. The organic food sector thrived due to pre-existent regs.  Two supply factors curtailed growth: inadequate volume, due to a mandatory 3-5 year washout period of conventionally-fertilized soil, and, no federal organic food regs in other nations – required to claim imported food as organic in UK/EU markets.  The current Cda and USA organic regs pleaded for by North American stakeholders has facilitated exports and spurred domestic demand. 

The Canadian Organic Food Sector totaled $3.5B in 2012, triple the 2006 value. The American Organic Food Sector grew 11% Y/Y in 2012 to US$28B.  A life science? Innovation? A life science sector kept unto itself, organic food lacks the distinctive mark – industry turmoil without new market creation – of disruptive innovation.  It is part radical innovation in that only a portion of conventional food has been displaced.  However, worth watching, one study claims organic agriculture can indeed feed the world.

Water Quality, Fracking, Due Diligence
Some methods of extracting gas from the earth’s crust significantly contribute to the carbon footprint.  Separately, farmers are concerned about water supply, quality and cost. An innovation, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), accesses subterranean gas with much less carbon generation but may contaminate the water table. Accordingly, at least two fracking proposals in Canada’s eastern provinces have been stalled, due to citizen resistance and East Coast wit.

Younger concedes that the US approach has been one of trial and error. It remains to be seen if fracking can meet his description, and if regulatory control can render fracking economically feasible and environmentally safe, inclusive of water quality.

Motor Power Enters the Streets of London - Call for Regulations  23 August 1913, The Tablet
The application of motor power to vehicles has revolutionized the traffic of London, and with the growth of it the danger to life and limb has also shown a proportionate increase. […] a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the problem and recommend means for ensuring the safety, especially, of foot passengers in the streets. […]  in 1907 there were 3, 866 horse cabs and 5, 952 hansoms licensed.  There are now only 2, 385 of the two together.  In 1907 there were 2, 961 horse omnibuses and tramcars and 2, 973 electric trams and motor omnibuses.  The last horse bus has now run its last journey through the City.  

In 1912, there were 5, 767 electric trams and motor omnibuses, and the smaller powered vehicles included 8,000 motor cabs…Among the minor recommendations or suggestions are the following:  Tramcars and omnibuses alike should have speed registers; all driving offences should be endorsed on the license; motor horns should be of a standard type; dazzling head-lamps in lighted streets should be prohibited; all slow vehicles should keep to the kerb; unsound vehicles should be prohibited in the streets.  Upon one point the recommendations have been keenly criticized, that which gives the control of traffic, routes, time-tables, and the number of stage carriages to be used, to the County Councils.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor

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25 Quintillion Reasons

Posted on October 09 2013 | Author: Tom Dowler

25 Quintillion – 25 followed by 18 zeros. This is the number of bytes of data that are generated in our world every single day!

Ubiquitous use of mobile devices and internet, as well as improvements in sensor technologies, machine data, GPS and other means of data production, have drastically expanded the volume of available information over recent years. Now that we know just how much data is out there, how do we distill significant value from data set after data set that are seemingly unrelated? This is where the term “Big Data” comes in.

A term that has been thrown around frequently, Big Data is a collection of complex data sets so large that until recently, could not be processed using traditional database management tools or data processing applications. Thanks to recent developments in data storage such as “The Cloud”, low cost data processing technology, and improved data mining and analytics, we now have the tools to apply these vast amounts of data to every day decisions made across industries.

The flow of Big Data platforms generally moves from data collection to integration of data sets. This data integration, often through customized algorithms, provides outputs that support decision making, business and operational actions. The overall goal of using data integration is to more efficiently accomplish the task or problem it is being applied to.

In the world of agriculture, the use of Big Data platforms to increase efficiencies, often in agricultural production, is called Precision Agriculture. This term is becoming increasingly popular in ag-industry and ag-investment circles.

As the 2009 IPhone 3G commercial stated “there’s an app for that”. This refers to the user-friendly platforms that can be set up to provide useful decision support means to customers and it is becoming increasingly more common in agriculture.

So how is Big Data being applied in agriculture? Well…
How do I link my field data to my farm equipment to ensure efficient variable rate seeding and spraying?… There’s an app for that!
How can I integrate weather data, information from soil sensors, and irrigation unit sensors to manage my water use?... There’s an app for that!
How do I manage real-time disease risks to my livestock operation?...you get the point.

Just like any other industry, a major driver of the agriculture industry is profit margins, and any means of increasing efficiencies in terms of inputs-in to yield-out is welcomed by producers. Coupled with the well documented issue of limited acres of agricultural land and increasing global population, demand for advanced methods of squeezing out greater yields per acre have set the table for Big Data to play a huge role in agriculture for years to come.

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analyst

Image credit: www.climate.com

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Innovation and Commercialization Part 3 of 4

Posted on September 27 2013 | Author: Admin

Game-Changers... Same Market or New?
Innovation may be classified as radical, disruptive or incremental.  Radical innovation is invasive. It establishes its own new market and sends incumbent markets into history books.  The automobile displaced the horse and carriage.  Disruptive innovation is one which causes turmoil in an industry, but does not create new markets. As to if smartphones are a disruptive innovation over cellphones depends on whether a new market for hand-held communication devices was created with the smartphone launch.  Both radical and disruptive innovations are game-changers. On-line shopping has certainly been a game-changer in the retail sector.  Has it created new markets (radical) or simply caused turmoil (disruptive)?

How Next Happens
Incremental innovation is how ‘next’ happens. Defined as “an improvement in the cost or functionality of an existing product in an existing market”, a BI Norwegian School of Management Thesis  concluded that “most progress in society is achieved through incremental innovation, which is far more frequent and economically predictable than radical innovation”.  Two car-based examples are the GPS and IPAS (Intelligent Parking Assist System), standard new features on several car brands.  Both were first launched as a personal-car feature 10 years ago, yet only recently matured to a technologically-dependable and cost-effective proposition.  Neither feature is radical (no expansion or displacement in the personal car market).  Are these features disruptive to the automotive sector?  Would a driver examiner permit use of an IPAS during the parallel-parking portion of a driver’s test? If so, is this fair to those without access to an IPAS? The topic would become a moot point should all cars eventually include an IPAS, in which case correct operation could be an evaluation point.  Is a GPS a hazardous distraction from a driver’s attention?  Or, will GPS-equipped cars net on the upside? - due to less time being lost, ability to schedule travel time, less need to frantically confirm the name of a street, more timely arrivals, etc.  As society decides these matters, any market upheaval is a consequence.

Getting to Next
“I don’t see much new here” sighed the trade-show attendee, an IT expert on the fringe of the food industry.  On the surface, an accurate observation.  However, the IFT Innovation Awards Committee evaluated 62 entries, many of which could be described as incremental:  a more soluble, true-salt-flavour sodium replacement; a sanitization system which greatly reduces water and energy usage; an edible gold glitter. Incremental innovation moves in increments (if at all) and is a timely process.  In addition to taxing the patience and resources of the entrepreneur, a willing and engaged consumer is mandatory, to shed a bit of the customary methods so as to make way for, and embrace, the new.

A Course for Improvers
The 1000-year old Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England offers bee-keeping courses to serve three levels of apiarists, or honey farmers: beginners, one-day workshops and… improvers! There is no mention of ‘advanced’ courses here or a place for those who may describe themselves as such.  The Buckfast history provides clues to this choice of words, as the pages are peppered with “drastic change” “immediate and fundamental transformation” and “rebuild” interspersed with long periods of calm and civil livelihood.  Centuries of experience has allowed the apiarists to recognize and value the counterpoint activity of continuous improvement, and the factors which foster it.

An Enduring Example
One of the world’s leading companies in the frozen food sector is “Newlyweds”.  In 1932, a founder created a smash success when he layered ice cream onto a sheet cake and rolled the two into a frozen pinwheel.  The company was re-named “newlywed”, having newly married cake and ice cream. Today, the company owes its success to having “consistently invested in infrastructure, human resources and capacity”.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor

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Innovation and Commercialization Part 2 of 4

Posted on June 27 2013 | Author: Admin

Create, Adopt or Adapt
Cultures evolve and are transformed by the curiosity and dedication of only a few individuals. Game-changing inventions – the type that alter lives and life-patterns forever – can be attributed to a finite number of people. The remaining members of society are either early adopters or adapters. An essential part of every product life cycle, early adopters are those who are first to use a new technology, buy the latest fashions, try a new flavour. Adapters emerge later, coerced into aligning with forces around them, either because adherence to methods of the past is awkward or obsolete.

The Psychology of Creativity
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – a “less well-known but probably one of the most serious management scholars of recent times” – in his widely-quoted thesis Creativity - Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention¹ describes creativity as “the attempt to expand the boundaries of a domain”. Mihaly has identified four major internal, yet surmountable obstacles to the creative process: too many demands; too many distractions from psychic energy; laziness, or lack of discipline; and, not knowing how to channel one’s creative energy.
Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein dealt with the first two obstacles in a similar manner: Einstein wore the same old sweater and baggy trousers every day; Jobs stocked his wardrobe with one colour-black. Each iconic inventor found the decision of what to wear each day - an example of what Mihaly calls “the wear and tear of existence” - a taxing drain on their creative reserves.
Laziness or lack of discipline can be overcome through increasing complexity of the task, keeping the mind engaged and curious. Creative energy can be harnessed by taking up a hobby: learn to draw; play a musical instrument, bridge or chess; or, cook like a gourmand. Mihaly claims that by internalizing and mastering the “system” – rules, rewards and rationale – of a non-essential domain, the human mind experiences a freedom within which to explore various pathways to stated goals, and transfers this skill set to other tasks.

Fascination with the Everyday
A recently-released BBC documentary, Isaac Newton: The Last Magician reveals a curious, systematic mind and disciplined nature exemplary of the requirements observed and advocated by Mihaly. Newton was interested in practical problems (alleviation of flatulence: steep horse dung in ale, express juices, drink), kept meticulous notes (confessed to the sins of “making pies on a Sunday night” or “punching my sister”) and like many over- achievers, never felt that he had finished anything, nor had solved a problem for all time. Lastly, no apple fell on his head.

Tenacity and Famous Failures
One particular trait of most of the world’s most famous creators, inventors and leaders was pig-headedness, as they trudged and trail-blazed to the success(es) for which they are known. Michael Michalko – an acclaimed creativity expert with an approach different than that of the academic Mihaly – refers to the 10 famous failures - 10 dreams fulfilled. Among them, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and from the food industry, Colonel Sanders:

The failure: Despite having the now-famous fried chicken recipe, he was rejected 1008 times before a restaurant took it in. 1008! Oh and he also went to all 1009 restaurants on his own by driving his van and sleeping in it.
The success: You see it yourself today. KFC is a worldwide brand in the fast food industry and the finger-licking good chicken is here to stay.

The Creative, Tenacious Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs “expand the boundaries of a domain”. As creative as artists, they develop something new and tenaciously overcome and resist doubting dissenters. Moreover, they believe in the ability of their undertakings to change part of the present into a positive, promising future.

¹ISBN 0-06-017133-2

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor

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thefoodlawyer.ca - Innovation and Food Safety

Posted on June 07 2013 | Author: Admin

Innovation and Food Safety – as Good Together as Peanut Butter and Chocolate

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting with John Russell, a representative for an innovative company, AquaLab. John talked to us at thefoodlawyer about some really interesting technology the company has developed for use in (among others) the food space.

Chatting with John served as an important reminder: We tend to think about food in the context of the people who make it (farmers, producers, etc.), people who sell it (supermarkets, restaurants, etc.) and people who regulate it (Health Canada). When it comes to innovation in the food industry (a favourite of ours!), it’s often companies outside the traditional food space that really move the needle.

AquaLab is one such company.

Regular readers of thefoodlawyer know that we are especially keen on developments in food safety and food stability. So it shouldn’t surprise you that we were very excited to meet with John and learn about AquaLab’s impressive technology, which can be used to improve both food safety and food quality.

AquaLab has several products which are able to accurately measure the water activity of various foods. If you don’t know what water activity is, don’t worry – neither did we until we met with John!

As John described it, water activity is a measure of the energy status of water in a system. Among other things, water activity can tell us whether a powder will cake or clump, whether water will flow from one ingredient to another, and whether bacteria are able to survive and thrive in a particular environment. In the food space it is predominantly useful in connection with:

Product Safety: For over a half century we’ve known that bacterial growth in food is correlated with water activity. By measuring the water activity of products, industry can learn what sort of bacteria, molds, or fungi will grow in any given product. Better yet, by reducing the water activity of a product, you can rule out the growth of certain (or all) classes of microbes. It shouldn’t be too surprising, then, that Health Canada relies on water activity as a standard for categorizing and evaluating many different types of food products.

Product Quality: Since water activity determines whether water will flow from one ingredient to another, recipes can be fine-tuned in order to ensure that each component of a product maintains its most desirable moistness. For example, suppose you make a cupcake: one part cake and the other icing. Big concern for the cupcake industry: how can it ensure that the tiny, delicious tidbit of sweetness maintains its moistness as it sits on the shelf waiting to be eaten? If the manufacturer formulates its product with water activity in mind, it will know how to limit the transfer of moisture from the delicious cake to the sugary, sweet icing.

Thus, being aware of water activity measurement can significantly improve industry’s ability to keep moist foods moist, and crunchy foods crunchy (who wants soggy cereal?!?) In addition, water activity measuring instruments are friends to industry because they can assist in reducing costs (and who doesn’t love that??).

Lower Risk: Since water activity testing can be used to limit bacterial growth, companies can reduce the possibility that their products are contaminated either during production or once they are sitting on the shelves. Anything that helps a company avoid a product recall is good news in our books!

Reduced Costs: Testing water activity can have a direct impact on a food company’s bottom line too. For instance, it can be used during production processes to avoid wastage: suppose a recipe requires a certain moisture level for the finished product. Think dog food – it needs to be crunchy. By testing the water activity of the ingredients at intermediate stages in the processing, a dog food manufacturer may discover that it doesn’t need to dry its food for as long as it may have thought, therefore savings costs associated with potential ‘over drying’ while still getting the pooch’s food just right. Second, water activity testing at intermediate stages can ensure that a finished product will have the desired moisture content, avoiding the costly expense of making mistakes (read: throwing out imperfect product).

Greater Market Share: Better tasting food sells more, right? So if a company can ensure that its cupcake stays the freshest the longest, it can frost the competition (sorry, we couldn’t resist!). Another way to drive sales is to feed into the “natural food” movement du jour, and limit the amount of additives and/or preservatives in foods. Water activity testing helps companies limit the need for extra ingredients in foods.

Isn’t this all really cool?

Our meeting with John reinforced just how important and interesting innovation in the food space is. The ability to leverage new technology to stay competitive as a food producer or manufacturer is integral to continued success and anything that can boost food safety can only be a good thing.

Thanks John for spending some time with us at thefoodlawyer. We look forward to hearing about more innovation from AquaLab in the years to come!

By Sara Zborovski at http://thefoodlawyer.ca

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Innovation & Commercialization Part 1 of 4

Posted on March 27 2013 | Author: Admin

“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” Theologian John Henry Newman (1801-1890); a similar variation is widely attributed to Winston Churchill (1874-1953).

The Ubiquity of the Word “Innovation”
It’s everywhere. Publicly-funded agencies are dedicated to it. Newly-formed businesses spin it into a corporate name. Training seminars and university courses are mandated to teach it. Organizations of every description are warned to do it or die. The word “innovation” is bandied around much like the word ‘strategy’ was treated during the 1980’s - with hefty investment of scarce resources dedicated to the concept, yet, without definition, established criteria, and, objective means of measurement.

…What is it?
An objective, comprehensive, tested-and-true characterization hails from the authoritative OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, author of Oslo Manual for measuring innovation), which defines four types of innovation - product, process, marketing and organizational:

Lessons from the Past; Examples for the Future
“Best is the enemy of Good Enough”
The first model need not be perfect, or complete.
The Blackberry® has undergone several improvements since first launched as a wireless email pager in 1999. Blackberry Inc. (formerly RIM) took a page from the tin can. The steel can patent of 1810 preceded the first canning factory of 1813. Filling rate was automated and increased 10 fold, to 60 cans per hour, in 1846. The first can opener was patented in 1858, almost 50 years after the tin can patent. The Arctic was explored by men carrying cans of food to be opened with a hammer and chisel.
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”
Fulfillment of consumer need and marketing pull will sustain and perpetuate commercialization.
In 1863, London England was a global political, financial and trading centre, with 3 million citizens and limited transportation options. The automobile had not yet been invented. The Underground aka “the tube” - a network of tunnels, tracks and trains - was developed “to keep the congested city moving”, forever changing public transportation in every major metropolis of the world. In fulfillment of consumer requirements, Summer Olympics’ demands, and to mark the tube’s 150th anniversary, wifi coverage is available at selected stations as of June 2012.

Safety of Tradition; Risk of Innovation
Who is cradling tradition? Who is not threatened by the complexity of the modern world but rather, invigorated and enriched by it? Which organizations have the necessary degree of self-appraisal to thrive? What is required to operate in a context of challenging uncertainty? Where is the talent to anticipate consumer needs and identify solutions?

Subsequent Editions of Food Fax®
Over the course of the year Food Fax® will report on the defining characteristics of successful and game-changing innovations, such as: the daily rituals, mindset and tenacity of classic inventors, and, the role of technology in commercializing ideas.

Carol T. Culhane, PHEc, MBA
President, International Food Focus Ltd.
Bioenterprise Regulatory Advisor

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2nd Generation Bio-products in Real Life

Posted on February 27 2013 | Author: Admin

Think second generation bio-products are only found in the lab? Think again.

Here’s a list of five ways you might have used bio-products before you even get to work in the morning:

1. Roofing
The roof that’s keeping the rain & snow out of the living room just might be made from a mix of cellulosic fibre and recycled materials like the products offered by Enviroshake. These products replace petroleum and tar based traditional roofing materials.

2. Insulation
It’s February in Canada, but nice and warm inside. That’s because your house is insulated – did you know that companies like Biobased Insulation offer GREENGAURD certified spray foam insulation?

3. Consumer Packaging
Time to get ready for work – shower, brush your teeth, etc. Even these daily tasks can involve bio-products! Companies in the Health and Beauty industry such as Colgate-Palmolive, Lush, and others are utilizing plant-based and post-consumer recycled materials in their products & packaging in an effort to reduce the global reliance on petroleum-based plastics.

4. Flooring
That new floor you recently had installed might be just as good for the environment as it looks in your kitchen. Companies such as Armstrong Tile are introducing flooring products that are manufactured using bio-based polymers from plant material.

5. Automobiles
If you’re anything like much of the Canadian workforce you commute to work in a car. What you might not know is that several integral components of your car are in fact bio-based! Seats, dashboards, and door panels are only some of the applications for bio-based composites in the automotive market.

These are some of the many ways that second generation bio-products are beginning to become mainstream – keep an eye out for bio-based materials next time you’re at the shopping centre.

Braden Kemp
Bioenterprise Corporation

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Food Trends 2013: What’s in, what’s out, what’s next?

Posted on January 22 2013 | Author: Jessica Bowes

Food industry experts have weighed in on what foods are growing in popularity, what items have been moved to the back burner, and what the next big thing is for 2013.

Here is a brief forecast based on online reports/articles from food processing, food service, and culinary sectors.

What’s in?

Who, what, where: The local food movement is still going strong, as consumers continue to look to farmers markets and street vendors for seasonal goodies. Consumers are also still looking for transparency with the foods they eat.

Golden grain of the Incas: The United Nations officially announced 2013 the International Year of the Quinoa, a designation that’s meant to “focus world attention on the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value plays in providing food security and nutrition,” - as noted on the UN’s website.

Dairy alternatives: According to The Test Kitchen Inc., we will see a greater variety of cheese, yogurt and cream products made from dairy other than cow’s milk. Companies like Woolwich Dairy are already producing products like goat milk-based gelato and goat cheese-based salad dressings.

Fruit hybrids: Growers continue to look for new fruit genetic crosses that provide specific flavour and texture characteristics of our favourite nutritious snacks. Recently developed examples include, the Papple (an apple-pear cross), the Pleurry (a plum-cherry cross), and the Nectoplum (a nectarine-plum cross).

What’s out?

Food wasting: According to Sylvain Charlebois, economics professor at the University of Guelph, Canadian households waste 38% of their food purchased in stores and restaurants. Consumers need to adopt better shopping practices and use leftovers in creative ways. Nutritionsolutions.ca suggests that this is an excellent opportunity for companies to help consumers better manage their food purchases and cooking habits.

What’s next?

Meatless proteins: As food prices for protein commodities increase and our population shifts to a more diverse ethnic mix, we can expect to see meatless proteins gain popularity. Thanks to increased awareness and consumption of vegetarian and vegan meals, eggs, nut butters, tofu, beans, and legumes will all be of interest.

Greek yogurt beyond the fridge: Building on last year’s popularity of Greek yogurt, consumers can expect to see new products using it as a base for dressings, dips, sauces, and smoothies.

Sea veggies: Popular in Japanese diets, highly nutritious sea vegetables are making waves as new food ingredients, particularly in snacks and side dishes. Kelp, kombu, hijiki and nori are all examples.

Tech savvy shoppers: According to The Food Marketing Institute, 52% of consumers are using technology while grocery shopping and 32% are using mobile technology to make shopping lists, find recipes or research and review products. Consumers will continue to use social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to categorize and share their food-related experiences with the world. Apps are being developed that utilize sensors, which attach to the mobile device, to test whether foods are actually organic, have specific allergens or ingredients, and can be used as glucose monitors for diabetics. Phil Lempert, the US’s “Supermarket Guru”, predicts that this next generation of apps will expand to include apps that can determine if fruits and vegetables are ripe, if refrigerated and frozen foods have been kept at the correct temperature throughout the supply chain, and even test for foodborne bacteria.

The trends listed here are merely a sampling of items from the ongoing discussion.

Jessica Bowes
Senior Business Analyst, Food Nutrition & Health

Image credit: Thinkstock

Related articles:

Food Navigator Trend Spotting Gallery: What’s Hot and What’s Not as we Head Into 2013.
Phil Lempert The Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2013
Innova Market Insights Top Trends for 2013
NPR On Your Plate in 2013: Expect Kimchi and Good-for-you Greens
Chicago Tribune 2013 Food Trends: What’s the Buzz in Food
The Test Kitchen Inc. Topline Trends

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Posted on 2013.02.25 | Author: Jessica

Macleans.ca posted an interesting article on food wasting back in January. The statistics suggest there is a market for a product/technology/service to significantly reduce the amount of food wasted each year or use it as a feedstock for something else; ultimately reducing the environmental consequences of letting food go to waste. You can read the article at the link below. http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/01/21/the-food-waste-debate-could-use-a-pinch-of-common-sense/

Innovation Fridays: AgDay: Monsanto's New FieldScripts Product

Posted on September 07 2012 | Author: Admin

Monsanto is taking precision planting to the next level with its new FieldScripts integrated farming system.

Monsanto’s recent purchase of Precision Planting is leading to a system that will produce the perfect planting environment for today’s high-value seed, according to Gregg Sauder, CEO of Precision Planting. The first product being launched in the system is FieldScripts.

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Biomimicry, an interesting tool to add to the innovation tool kit!

Posted on May 09 2012 | Author: Tom Dowler

Given the dearth of bio-based companies we work with, and the goal of many to utilize more sustainable feedstocks, create more efficient methods for farming, processing, and manufacturing, and develop products often from organic sources, it brings up the question, what about biomimicry?

Biomimicry is defined as emulating nature to solve human problems sustainably.

After all, encountering 3.8 billion years of “product development” (life) and countless improvements to the compositions and processes within each “product”, Mother Nature may have figured out a few answers that even our best and brightest cannot efficiently determine without a guide.

How do we reduce our energy consumption? How do we reduce our material usage?...in short, can emulating nature help to reduce costs and make products and processes more efficient?

Some great examples of Biomimicry in use are:

  • Toronto-based WhalePower, who has developed their Tubercle Technology utilizing the fluid dynamic and biomechanic design of a humpback whales flipper to produce a quieter and more efficient wind turbine.
  • Columbia Forest Products, who has taken into account the natural adhesive abilities of the blue mussel to create a soy-based formaldehyde free technology used for construction of hardwood plywood products.

For more information on Biomimicry, there is a growing list of expertise in this area including:

Biomimicry, an interesting tool to add to the innovation tool kit!

Tom Dowler
Senior Business Analyst

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Posted on 2012.06.03 | Author: Jeni

It's good to get a fresh way of looking at it.

Guelph- The City that Makes a Difference

Posted on April 13 2012 | Author: Admin

Guelph has consistently been ranked as one of Canada's Top 10 Most Desirable Places to live, and with its constant engagement in sustainability throughout the community it is no wonder why!

In a profile of the city, covered by Terry Bradshaw, Guelph is deservingly classified as a city that truly makes a difference. Bioenterprise is very proud to be a Guelph-based business, contributing to its overall economic and sustainable development.

Watch the video to learn more.

The Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre receives funding under the Growing Forward suite of programming, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. However, the comments or opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada or the Province of Ontario.

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Posted on 2012.06.03 | Author: Gary

This forum needed shaking up and you've just done that. Great post!

CarbonCure Technologies Inc. - Block System

Posted on March 01 2012 | Author: Admin

Robert Niven, CEO and founder of CarbonCure Technologies Inc. discusses their newly discovered technology designed to use carbon dioxide as a value-added input in the production of concrete, an abundant commodity product.

The CarbonCure Block System introduces CO2 into the actual manufacturing process of concrete, making it green and creating far stronger products at an early stage.This higher strength can then be converted to less waste and defects, new and better products, less cement and less energy.

With their partners, CarbonCure is helping to solve today's economic and carbon challenges by improving the production of concrete, which is all around us.

To learn more about this company and its products visit: http://carboncure.com/

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

Source: CarbonCure Technologies Inc.

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Solar Trash Bins

Posted on November 08 2011 | Author: Admin

High-tech Trash.

In our cities, waste collection can be pretty wasteful itself. Garbage trucks have to make near constant trips to keep public trash bins from overflowing—contributing to traffic and pollution. To keep our cities in harmony, we'll have to figure out a better system for urban waste collection. The people at BigBelly Solar already have one solution.

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

Produced by Eve Marson and Max Joseph

Source: GOOD Magazine

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Posted on 2011.11.24 | Author: Audel

Hey, kliler job on that one you guys!


Posted on October 17 2011 | Author: Admin

Lowering your impact is no sweat.

Nothing kills that post-workout buzz like contemplating the environmental impact of traditional gyms—the air conditioning, the cardio machines, the thousands of tiny towels that are washed daily. But Manuel de Arriba Ares, a retired Spanish gym teacher, has come up with an alternative: all the exercise equipment in his gimnasio ecológico requires no electricity and is made entirely of recycled materials. 

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

Source: GOOD Magazine

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Posted on 2011.11.25 | Author: Jeanette

Ah, i see. Well that's not too tricky at all!"

Innovation Fridays: Electric Bicycles

Posted on September 26 2011 | Author: Admin

In much of the world, biking is the main mode of transportation. In China or Denmark for example, it's not unusual to see more bicycles than cars on the road. However, in North America, this is not the case.

Thanks to electric bikes, getting around via bicycle has become more practical and efficient than ever. Your own energy and an electrical motor combine to make cycling up hill or long distance much faster and easier. Needless to say, if electrical biking catches on, city traffic can be minimized and carbon emissions drastically reduced. 

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week.

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The Greenest Building in the World

Posted on September 09 2011 | Author: Admin

Ready for another Innovation Friday Video?

The Port of Portland is a large quasi-state agency in Oregon, which operates 3 airports, and several marine terminals along the mighty Columbia River, and sees thousands of tons of cargo come through its facilities every week.  When they recently decided to relocate their headquarters from a downtown highrise to the airport, they had a prime opportunity to go green.

Check out this weeks video featuring one of the greenest buildings in the world (according to Forbes).

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Innovation Fridays: Plastic from Corn

Posted on September 02 2011 | Author: Admin

The majority of plastics today are oil-based. Not only does plastic consume 10% of the world's oil supply, but it also increases global warming, and can take over 1000 year to degrade. Plastic made from corn is biodegradable, carbon neutral, renewable and even edible.

The long chains of carbon molecules in corn starch are remarkably similar to the chains of carbon in oil-based plastic. The pellets of corn polymer can be melted down and formed into any shape and size of biodegradable plastic. Find out how it's made...

Watch our Innovation Video of the Week:

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Posted on 2011.10.19 | Author: Donte

IJWTS wow! Why can't I think of things like that?




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