Innovation contest - cool ship technologies for chocolate

Technology Request
United States
A North American chocolate and confectionery manufacturer seeks to identify new systems or materials that will allow chocolate to be shipped in warm weather without the need for gel packs. The sponsor seeks to enter a technical or research cooperation agreement including a cash prize.
The deadline to respond to this contest is February 15, 2016 at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST). Expressions of Interest (EoIs) submitted through the EEN do not count as entries to the contest. Full entries will require additional time and further instructions, which will be furnished upon submission of EoI. EoI deadline is February 5, 2016 to allow time for preparation of a complete entry.

It can be challenging to transport chocolate candy during summer months, or in warmer climates. Currently, chocolates ordered May through September, or to certain geographies, must be shipped in protective packaging to prevent melting. The packaging typically involves the over-wrapping of frozen gel packs and chocolate candy with an insulating layer, which is then placed in a corrugated shipping box.

This method allows shipped chocolate to arrive at its destination without melting, but there can be undesirable side effects. Frozen gel packs create condensation, which can damage the products’ packaging. Wide temperature swings can contribute to the development of bloom on chocolate surfaces. Also, consumers are sometimes uncertain about how to properly dispose of the gel packs, and the gel packs themselves add to the weight of the shipment.

There are known technologies that can permit shipment of goods under well-controlled conditions, but they are expensive and are used in high value situations, such as medical, electronics, and aerospace applications.

The sponsor would like to develop a lightweight, affordable shipping system that will keep chocolate close to the temperature at which it was packed, 75°F or below, for at least 48 hours. The ultimate goal is to develop a system that would be inexpensive enough to use year round, as part of the standard packaging for small parcel shipments.

Participants in this competition vie for US$25,000 in development funds and may have the opportunity to further collaborate with the sponsor to develop proposed solutions.

Up to 5 respondents will be selected to advance to Phase 2. Each Phase 2 participant will receive US$10,000 for prototype development and a detailed description of the prototype evaluation process. Groups will have until mid-July, 2016 to fabricate and deliver 5 working prototypes to the sponsor, who will evaluate the prototypes’ performance against one another and against a minimum performance threshold.

The sponsor will award the group producing the best performing prototype that exceeds the minimum performance threshold with US$25,000 in development funds and may also provide additional resources in the form of laboratory space, access to equipment, and / or consultation with technical staff.

There may be additional funded development opportunities for the awarded technology.


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