Natural Products Canada presents an open innovation call with Kerry/Bio-K+

October 25, 2023

Finalists will get to pitch their technology/product to Kerry/Bio-K+, a leader in nutrition and food innovation, and compete for the grand prize of $5000 and the opportunity for exploratory discussions with Kerry/Bio-K+.

Natural Products Canada is pleased to partner with Kerry/Bio-K+ to host an open innovation call to identify new and innovative natural solutions to support Kerry’s globally-recognized expertise in gut health (biotics).


On this page you will find:

  • a description of the open innovation call
  • the process and timeline
  • the areas of innovation of interest
  • a video recording and associated slides explaining more about each of these elements.

Please review the information, and reach out to your Regional Director to learn more and to access the application form.


Kerry is a world leader in taste and nutrition for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. Through its acquisition of BioK+, Kerry has gained a new specialty in gut health, supported by exceptional expertise and innovation in pre/pro/postbiotics (biotics). (You can learn more on Kerry/Bio-K+ and their history and market areas at 8:35 in the video below.)

Together, Kerry/Bio-K+ are interested in a variety of health solutions, specially:

  1. Stability and shelf life of functional beverages
  2. Women’s health (beyond cranberry)
  3. Postbiotics

Topics described further in the Innovation Brief and in the video below.


Kerry/Bio-K+ is committed to providing health solutions that meet the needs of today’s discerning consumer. With the rapid pace of discovery and innovation, Kerry/Bio-K+ is driven to collaborate with a broad range of researchers, innovators and companies that can help deliver health solutions. Through this open innovation call, Kerry/Bio-K+ hopes to advance this innovation and meet potential collaborators and form mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Five (5) successful applicants will be invited to pitch their innovation directly to Kerry/Bio-K+ in a virtual Presentation Session hosted by Natural Products Canada.

The five successful finalists will also receive:

  • Pitch coaching from NPC
  • Inclusion in all communications and promotion of finalists from NPC before and after the event

Where relevant, Kerry will invite the applicants to continue discussion and enter into NDA, MTA, etc to pursue further exploration. While Kerry hopes to identify potential collaborators for future partnership, it is not obliged to move beyond the non-confidential discussions during the Presentation Meeting with any applicant.


(See 41:30 in the video below)

  1. Application forms                                                             Key Date: November 30th

Interested parties can apply before November 30th by completing a short, non-confidential form explaining the innovation/solution. Natural Products Canada will review each application, and will communicate with applicants about all aspects of the application process, including, where relevant, requesting clarification or additional information. All information should be considered non-confidential.


2. Review by NPC and Kerry/Bio-K+                                   Key Date: December 15th

All applications will be reviewed by the NPC team to determine fit and alignment with the innovation interests of Kerry/Bio-K+, and to determine if additional information is required. Kerry/Bio-K+ will then select 5 semifinalists.

3. Presentations by Semifinalists                                         Key Date: January 11th

Five semifinalists will be chosen to present their product/technology to Kerry/Bio-K+ at a virtual session hosted by Natural Products Canada. Each presenter will have the opportunity to explain their product, and answer questions directly from Kerry/Bio-K+ representatives.

4. Announcement of Winner                                            Key Date: January 25th

One winner will be selected and announced on January 30th. The winner will receive $5000 and be invited to further discussion with Kerry/Bio-K+.

*Should a significant leader not emerge, Kerry/Bio-K+ reserves the right to distribute the prize money evenly among the semifinalists.

Hear more directly from Kerry/Bio-K+ in the video or view the presentation slides (saved as PDF). (Additional written details about the areas of interest are below the video and PDF.)

Click image to access Open Innovation Call presentation (PDF).


There are three areas of interest in this Open Innovation Call: 1) sustainability and stability in packaging for probiotic beverages; 2) ingredients for women’s health; and 3) postbiotics for better gut health solutions. For more background on these items, please watch the accompanying video.

NOTE: The following indicates the ideal solutions sought by Kerry/Bio-K+. However the innovation leads at both companies recognize that interesting potential solutions may be at an earlier stage, requiring more validation. Depending on the level of innovation and potential for business benefit, Kerry/Bio-K+ is willing to explore these earlier stage solutions.

  1. Sustainability and stability in packaging for probiotic beverages (see roughly 14:11 in the video)

Bio-K+ is committed to sustainability while still being able to protect and extend the life of the active bacteria in its biotic beverages, including solutions related to: processing, ingredients and packaging.

Key areas of interest

  • Material Selection: Selecting eco-friendly materials, such as bioplastics, recycled content, and plastic alternatives, to lessen the environmental impact.​
  • ​Waste Reduction: Reducing excess packaging and single-use plastics.​
  • ​Energy Efficiency: Using energy-efficient processes to cut the carbon footprint in packaging production.​
  • ​Biodegradability: Exploring naturally biodegradable components.

Stage Desired​

  • Ready for testing with past success stories​
  • Little to no R&D investment required from Bio-K+

Other Considerations​

  • Cost effectiveness​
  • Customizable (bottle shape)​
  • No outsourcing​
  • Food grade material

2. Ingredients for women’s health (See roughly 24:40 in the video.)

Areas of Interest

Kerry is seeking truly innovative and novel natural ingredients that address the needs of women throughout their lives. Kerry is interested in a broad range of women’s health issues, including: PCOS hormone balance; insulin regulation, skin health, UTIs, stress, sleep, fertility, menstruation, breastfeeding, gut health, protein absorption, libido, menopause (hot flushes, etc), bone health, cognitive, eye and baby health.

Stage Desired​

  • Natural, clinically tested ingredients with proven health benefits ready for testing ​
  • Little to no R&D investment required from Kerry

Other Considerations

  • Cost in use​
  • Exclusivity: years or regions​
  • GRAS and/or NDIN​

3. Postbiotics for better gut health solutions (See roughly 32:45 in the video)

Postbiotics is emerging as an area of high potential in gut health. Kerry is seeking a broad range of ingredient innovation in this growing field, including but not limited to: gut-brain axis, joint health, skin, immunity, and more.

Stage Desired​

  • Natural, clinically tested ingredients with proven health benefits ready for testing ​
  • Little to no R&D investment required from Kerry​

Other Considerations​

  • Competitive Cost in use​
  • Exclusivity: years or regions​
  • GRAS and/or NDIN


Please reach out to your Regional Director to learn more, or to access the application form.