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Applications process launched for Ontario Chicken Innovation Award


BURLINGTON, Ont. – The Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has opened up applications for the second Ontario Chicken Innovation Award, part of the organization’s commitment to helping bring new, innovative Ontario chicken products to the plates of consumers. This year, CFO has millions of kilograms of chicken available for successful applicants.

“Chicken continues to be the top choice for Canadians at home and in restaurants and we know that consumers crave new, innovative food products,” said Rob Dougans, president and CEO, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “At CFO, we want to help our industry get new products to market which is why, for the second year in a row, we’re making an additional supply of chicken available to help accelerate chicken product innovation.”

Created in 2018 by CFO, the Ontario Chicken Innovation Award is the first-of-its-kind in the chicken industry, recognizing top consumer-facing innovations and providing an additional supply of chicken to enable that innovation and accelerate growth. The first recipient was Grand River Foods and Maple Lodge Farms. The two companies collaborated to develop a new, frozen, cooked, smoked chicken product that delivers on the consumer need for convenience as well as current flavour trends.

“This program is about bringing new, innovative products to market to meet consumer needs. That’s why we’re looking for innovations that are consumer-facing, first-of-their-kind in Canada and that have some track record – piloted or introduced to the market in the last 18 months so that historical sales data can be included in the application,” said Ed Benjamins, chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

Applications are available at chickeninnovation.ca, and will be accepted until Sept. 13, 2019. The program is open to primary processors, further processors, retailers, foodservice and restaurant companies in Canada. Companies that are not primary processors must include a primary processor as part of their application. Innovations must use chicken grown and fully processed in Ontario. There is an opportunity for multiple innovations to share as applications are assessed on their own merits.

Eligible applications are reviewed by the Independent Advisory Committee of experts. The Committee considers four factors: historical sales/demand, projected future sales/demand, innovation/quality of ideas and economic value.