Winners aim to replicate the taste, feel, and smell of meat without any meat.

The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) and Ontario Genomics have revealed the recipients of more than $900,000 in funding through their AcCELLerate-ON competition.

AcCELLerate-ON is a cellular agriculture competition that supports the research and development of innovative viable food production methods meant to drive economic growth in Ontario.

Applications underwent an evaluation process conducted by an external panel of eight judges with expertise in cellular agriculture, the food and beverage industry, technology, science, market andcommercial viability, and social sciences.

A spokesperson for Ontario Genomics told BetaKit that CFIN is contributing $350,000 and Ontario Genomics is providing $175,000 to the overall prize pot.

The four winning research projects are: Ardra Inc., Cell Ag Tech, Evolved, and the University of Toronto (UofT). CFIN and Ontario Genomics said they were chosen for their potential to drive food innovation, address industry opportunities, solve challenges, and benefit the cellular agriculture ecosystem, as well as the food and beverage industry in the province.

Ardra Inc., a biotechnology company located in Toronto, is receiving over $149,000 as it develops an ingredient called heme, which is found in animal blood. Heme by itself provides a core element of the taste of meat.

Ardra was able to produce animal-free heme by precision fermentation and claims to have active requests for larger sample amounts from several major flavour companies. With funding from AcCELLerate-ON, Ardra plans to reach pilot-scale for heme production, validation of their key ingredients by these potential customers, and to establish a clear path to market.

Read the full story in BetaKit.