Innovation Challenge

Our Innovation Challenges are created to locate best-in-class practices mainly in the fields of technology and food.

By collaborating with some of the best start-ups, entrepreneurs, companies and technologies in the world, we believe we can find the breakthrough innovation that will improve how we do business and better meet our consumer’s evolving needs.


TitleSeeking a compact mobile platform for rapid on-field fruit quality measurement
Summary DescriptionWe are seeking a portable analytical device for rapid on-field measurement of the fruit quality
Description
General Mills, a 17+ billion dollar food company, has the following need: A device or integrated suite of sensors in a small form factor for on-field measurement of fruit quality traits.

General Mills always ensures the use of highest quality of agricultural produce and ingredients for manufacturing its products. When buying agricultural raw material, it is necessary to quickly make procurement decisions based on selected quality parameters.

At present buyers employ experience based subjective produce quality traits. To ensure absolute consistency in product quality and quick conveyance of decision to growers, General Mills is interested in cost-effective, rapid, on-field quantitative measurement of fruit quality. Consequently, we are seeking a sensor suite or portable device to measure fruit quality traits including, total soluble solids (TSS), acidity, pH, color, size, flavor intensity and texture.
Possible Approaches
Possible approaches may include but are not limited to a suite of miniaturized mechanical and/or chemical and/or electrical and/or electrochemical and/or optical sensors operating on accepted soft modeling paradigms. Any calibration data required should preferably be stored locally; however, we would also consider solutions involving data hosted on remote cloud based platforms. We would favor commercially available platforms, but would also consider solutions in developmental stage that are straightforward to commercialize.
Criteria
Any solution submitted will be evaluated against the following criteria
  1. Cost and working life of the device
  2. Simplicity in handling
  3. Time of measurement
  4. Accuracy and precision of measurements
  5. Application potential for fruits of interest to us
Solutions Not of Interest
Separate devices for each quality parameter
Proposal Deadline4/6/2018

Submit Proposal


TitleEgg Substitution for Cake Mixes
Summary DescriptionGeneral Mills is seeking pantry friendly ingredients to enable formulation of ‘egg reduced’ or ‘egg free’ cakes mixes.
Description
Egg ingredients, such as whole egg powder is used in cake mix formulations to develop the unique structure of cakes through its gelling and heat coagulation properties. The strong network of egg proteins formed during the baking process is important for texture building, particularly in angel food cake, but also in other cake mixes. In addition, egg ingredients partially contribute towards emulsification, leavening and stabilization of the foam structure in cakes.

Egg and egg based ingredients are often prone to microbiological contamination, supply chain issues and price fluctuations. Additionally, changing consumer needs and emerging interests in vegan options are also driving factors. Consequently, we are seeking novel alternatives to egg based ingredients for our cake mixes.
Possible Approaches
The solution should be directed at substitution or elimination of dried egg white, dried egg yolks, or dried whole eggs. The ingredients can be pure substances or a blend of several ingredients. The ingredients can be produced by any means: extraction, purification, fermentation or other known processes. We would prefer commercially available ingredients but would consider ingredients in their early stage of development.
Criteria
Any solution proposed will be evaluated based on the criteria listed below:
  • Ingredient functionality, including emulsification, structure development and stabilization, and texture delivery.
  • The name or proposed name of the ingredient on the product label and its familiarity to the consumers.
  • Vegan or non-vegan solutions
  • Cost neutral or reduction relative to current market prices
  • The ingredient must have GRAS status or be a new ingredient with a line of sight to GRAS approval.
Solutions Not of Interest
  • Ingredients that could be perceived as refined chemicals
  • Non-food solutions (e.g. blood plasma)
Proposal Deadline11/7/2017