Welcome to SFC Open Innovations

About SFC

SFC, Savola Foods Company, is the leading strategic investment holding group in the food sector across the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region. Savola is proud of their Saudi heritage, their current international presence and the ethical business model that sets them apart. Savola’s view is that companies perform best when they play to their strengths. At Savola, this means focusing our resources on building a strong portfolio of assets across the food sectors, including Cooking Oils and Fats, Sugar, Pasta, Frozen Food, Nuts, Pulses, Herbs & Spices.

Savola is constantly forging partnerships and devising new initiatives to improve their company and the world. Savola is immensely proud of their past and current accomplishments in this field and committed to ensuring that this continues in the months and years to come.

Savola continues to support the Saudi Vision 2030 through focusing on consumer health and greener operations.

Challenge Description

Collaborate with Savola
SFC Open Innovations Program, Product Development Competition

Common cooking fat used in household cooking, commercial kitchens and large-scale food processing are not sustainably produced causing deforestation, soil erosion, environmental degradation, and climate change. Innovators in food industry and academia are now proactively searching for healthier, effective and sustainable fat replacers or alternative fat sources (fat substitutes and fat mimetics).

Fat substitutes have the physical and functional characteristics of conventional fat molecules such as triglycerides1. Fat substitutes can successfully maintain the palatability of foods as they can reproduce the texture and mouthfeel of fat. They are generally heat stable and suitable for high temperature cooking and frying applications. Fat mimetics are substances which can mimic some of the organoleptic and physical properties of conventional fat molecules. Fat mimetics cannot replace some of the non-polar functional characteristics of fat.

What is Savola Seeking?
Savola is seeking short, non-confidential proposals for developing concepts to prototype.

The challenge: Identify a Promising Cooking Fat Replacer or Alternative Fat viable to common household usage. The product should adhere to International Food Standards and guidelines.

Below are the specific guardrails for this year’s theme. The developed product:

  1. Must adhere to the USDA’s and / or EFSA guidelines
  2. Liquid or Semi Liquid texture
  3. Extracted from a sustainable (eco-friendly) source
  4. No health side effects- whether on short or long term
  5. Should take nutritional considerations for healthier diets.
  6. Effective performance in the different domestic hot and cold applications (cooking, frying and salad dressing)
  7. Proven shelf-life stability
  8. Heat stable for domestic applications
  9. Cost effective



  1. Participants must be registered as students or officially affiliated (as post doc fellows and start up) with a university program with interests in food science and technology, nutrition, life sciences, biotechnology, chemistry, engineering and sustainability.
  2. The lead applicant must be 32 years and below.
  3. There may be multiple team submissions per institute; however, only one (1) team per institution will be selected as a Finalist.
  4. Team members are only allowed to participate on one (1) team.
  5. All team members must all be enrolled at the same institute.
  6. Only participants who have signed and submitted an entry form may participate.
  7. Only one (1) entry may be submitted per team.
  8. Faculty and Staff may contribute to the concept and prototypes as advisors
  9. Participants and Faculty must read and sign the entry form to confirm eligibility of lead applicant to, affirm that the product concept to be submitted will be their team’s original work, and that all rights, title and interest, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights, to such concepts are hereby assigned to SFC
  10. Neither participants nor their immediate family members (parents, children, siblings, spouses, etc.) can be affiliated with SFC

How To Enter
  1. Participants may enter the competition in teams of 1-5. There may be only one (1) submission per team.
  2. All team members must read, complete, and sign the entry form located on the SFC Product Development Website.
  3. Only members who have registered with the team may contribute to the project.
  4. Each team must designate one (1) member as team captain. The team captain will be the primary point of contact throughout the process and will be responsible for accepting any award granted to the team.
  5. Please complete the entry form on the SFC Product Development Competition Portal no later than 11:59 pm (before midnight) EST Dec 9th, 2022.
  6. Each entry will be acknowledged by SFC team within 30 days.

Important Dates
Stage of Competition Item / Activity Date
Entry Product Development Entry Deadline Dec 9th, 2022
Competition Stage 1 Product Submission Form Due Jan 15th, 2023
Finalists Announced Apr 3rd, 2023
Competition Stage 2 [Finalists Only] Finalist Reports & Videos Due Jul 2nd, 2023
Finalist Presentations & Bulk Product Due Jul 17th, 2023
SFC Product Development Competition Finals Jul 31st, 2023

Registration is closed


Submission – Stage 1

A) Product Submission Form
A product submission form must be uploaded by all teams by above mentioned deadline. The form will be located on the SFC Product Development Competition Website. The product submission form requires the following information:
  1. School affiliation, team members, contact information, faculty sponsor name and title etc
  2. Product description, product name, product specifications, ingredient statement, health claims, shelf life, food safety, transport/handling considerations, process flow, and references

Two (2) High resolution product photographs with providing serving suggestion should be uploaded directed on the website. Please do not include picture in the product submission form

B) Selection Of Finalists
  1. Product Submission Forms will be evaluated by a cross-functional panel of judges. Each proposal will be evaluated and scored based upon the following criteria:
    Evaluation Criteria 100 points total
    Product Submission Form 65
    Product Pictures 35
  2. Three (3) Finalists will be selected and announced by above mentioned timeline
  3. All teams that do not place as Finalists will be provided with feedback regarding their submissions
  4. All contestants that show remarkable work (even if not shortlisted in phase 2) could have the opportunity to receive an internship at Savola as relevant

Submission is closed

Submission – Stage 2

Video, Final Report And Virtual Presentation
Three (3) selected Finalists will be invited to a SFC event in the spring of 2023 . This may be a virtual or in-person, company-wide event to be confirmed approximately 4 weeks prior to the Finals date. Practice sessions with the selected Finalists will be organized approximately 4 weeks prior to Finals date.

The top three (3) finalists will be asked to prepare:
  1. a marketing video, showcasing the developed product
  2. edible prototypes for judging
  3. a final written report
  4. an oral presentation

A) Video (20%)
  1. Create a video (≤ 60 seconds) about your new products. Imagine this video as a potential way to market your new product online and through social media
  2. Video proposals must be uploaded/submitted by teams in one of the following formats: .MOV, .AVI, .WMV, MP4, or .MPEG4 to SFC® Product Development Competition portal
  3. Videos must NOT mention any school affiliation to maintain anonymity while judging
Video files must not exceed 60 seconds. Videos using inappropriate language, actions, e.g. rude gestures, discrimination on sex gender, national origin, etc. will be immediately disqualified

B) Finalist Written Report (40%)
All finalists will be asked to prepare a final report that will be evaluated by a cross-functional team at SFC
  1. Finalist reports must be uploaded in .doc format to the SFC® PD Competition Portal
  2. To maintain anonymity during judging, the title page and list of team members should be located on the first page which will be removed to maintain anonymity during judging
  3. Finalist reports are limited to 15 pages (excluding references, title page and photographs), and must be formatted in Times New Roman font, size 12, double spaced, with 1” margins
  4. The written report should be comprehensive and technically sound
  5. At least one colored photograph of the product should be included in the final report
  6. Teams should include the following in the final report
  • Executive summary
  • Product description
  • Description of product originality
  • Description of product
  • Formulation and development description
  • Process description
  • Ingredient statement
  • Nutrition Information (i.e. calories/serving) & nutrition label
  • Sensory and/or consumer testing plan (or sensory testing if feasible)
  • Product package (digital rendering is acceptable)
  • Shelf-life, food safety, and regulations:
    • Hazard Analysis (HAACP)
    • State, federal, and other regulations
  • Estimated retail price point & cost analysis
  • Prototype photograph(s)
  • Approach to challenges & limitations
  • References

C) Oral Presentation & Product Sampling (40%)
  1. Finalists will be asked to present an oral presentation that should not exceed the allotted time. Following team presentations judges will ask questions
  2. Presentation guidelines will be provided to the three (3) competition finalists
  3. Finalist presentations must be submitted via the SFC Product Development Website/Portal in PowerPoint format
  4. Finalists will be required to prepare enough samples to serve 6 people. SFC will work with the finalists to ship samples for the judges to evaluate

D) Judging Panel And Decision
  1. The judging panel will be comprised of SFC employees from across the organization, including but not limited to, Research and Development, Product Supply, Marketing, and Sales and other external members
  2. All judging decisions will be final, and distribution of judge comments will be at the discretion of SFC


What is Savola offering?
Savola acknowledges that every project is different, and some may receive a combination of funding and Savola capabilities (Savola in-kind resources as applicable (e.g., access to laboratories, pilot plants, test kitchens, manufacturing facilities, supply chain and retail facilities) while building invaluable relationships. Opportunities for extended collaboration and additional funding if successful can be discussed.

Up to $17,000, is available to the top three successful submissions.

  1. Awards will be announced within a week of the competition Finals via email to the Finalist Team Captains
  2. Three awards will be granted based on final judging decisions:
    • 1st place: $10, 000
    • 2nd place: $5, 000
    • 3rd place: $2, 000
  3. In the event that a team entry is selected for an award, SFC shall issue the respective prize sum, divided evenly to each respective team member as well as any of the reimbursements from the trip
  4. Taxes on awards are the sole responsibility of the winning team members
  5. Finalist team members must submit completed W9 or W8 tax forms prior to the competition to avoid delay of award payment


For any queries, please contact:


Head Office Egypt