NSIN is partnering with the Combat Feeding Division on a nationwide search to identify companies to participate in combat-feeding research and engineering technologies pitch competition on July 21, 2022.


National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), in partnership with the Combat Feeding Division (CFD) in the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s (DEVCOM’s) Soldier Center, is conducting a nationwide search to identify companies to participate in a combat-feeding research and engineering (R&E) technologies pitch competition.

A team of subject matter experts will evaluate applicants and select the top 10 companies for the final virtual pitch event on July 21, 2022, with $200,000 in total awarded to the two top solutions. The CFD is making significant investments in this arena, and looking to support the growth of combat feeding technologies in startups that can support various defense applications.

Benefits of Participating

  • $200,000 in subcontracts awarded to the top two companies (2 - $100,000 contracts)
  • Exposure to leaders across multiple branches of the DoD responsible for the development and deployment of combat feeding technologies
  • Exposure to Venture Capitalists (VCs) focused on combat feeding technologies
  • Access to potential follow-on opportunities with SC

Apply Now

The application period for this opportunity is closed.

What Type of Companies are Eligible

  • US Owned and Operated Startup
  • Early-Stage Ventures (i.e., little to no DoD contracts, equal to or earlier than Series A)
  • Able to deliver a prototype of the product by July 21, 2023


The Combat Feeding Division (CFD) provides the products and services that decision-makers, warfighters, and first responders need when most needed. As a member of DEVCOM’s Soldier Center and the Department of Defense, CFD is a joint program with a unique mission to provide an operationally relevant Research & Development base to deliver solutions for evolving field feeding challenges.


  • May 6, 2022: Solicitation Release
  • May 23, 2022: Ask Me Anything Session with NSIN and Combat Feeding (Watch video below)
  • June 20, 2022: Solicitation Closes & Down-selection Begins
  • June 27, 2022: Down-selection Ends and Finalists Announced
  • July 5, 2022: Deadline for Finalists to RSVP
  • July 13, 2022: Final Rehearsals
  • July 21, 2022: Pitch Event

Judging Criteria

Applications and Pitches will be judged on five criteria:

  1. Technical: Soundness, technical merit, innovation of proposed approach; feasibility of proposed solution, and readiness level of the technology to transition into a ration platform.
  2. Team: Qualifications of proposed principals, support staff, and consultants.
  3. Commercialization: Company has a technology solution that is viable in non-defense markets.
  4. Reasonableness: The company’s solution could be tested within the Combat Feeding ecosystem.
  5. Quality of Pitch: Company presented a clear and concise overview of their company and technology that demonstrated how their technology is solving one or more of the defined problem areas and responded effectively to questions from the strategic advisors.

Problem Statement

The CFD needs new sources of early-stage technology to help sustain the American warfighter. These areas of technology interest include food preservation, stabilization and densification technologies, and foods that support human performance or optimize gut and immune systems.

The two areas that are emphasized are the following:

Problem #1: Nutrient Densification

Provide a nutrient-dense food prototype that maximizes energy density and minimizes ration volume. Provides maximum caloric density, minimal weight and cube, and/or balanced micronutrient profile and minimal weight and cube, thereby reducing the warfighter carrying load and Class 1 logistics burden.

  • Prototype must be shelf stable, requiring no refrigeration/freezing
  • Prototype must be a palatable food item (not pill form), and acceptable to an individual consumer in terms of appearance, flavor, odor and texture.
  • Ideally, the prototype is ready to eat, does not require reconstitution, and is designed to not freeze at temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit so that it is suitable for Arctic feeding.

End-User: All U.S. military personnel deployed around the world in training and operational missions.

Problem #2: Fermented Protein Alternatives

Fermented Protein Alternatives: Essential amino acids (EAAs) must be obtained through dietary protein and are the limiting factor for muscle protein synthesis in the body. During combat operations, warfighters engage in sustained physical activity with few opportunities to eat, leading to negative energy and protein balances. To sustain metabolism during negative protein balance, the warfighter’s skeletal muscle is catabolized, leading to losses in lean body mass and compromising warfighter performance. Strategies to support performance and improve recovery should focus on providing the highest quality nutrition that mitigates detrimental effects and aids in recovery.

  • Seeking a novel, fermented food ingredient (alt protein) that can be a “blank canvas” for ration developers to create the next generation of rations. Ideally, it would contain >80% content EAA, be neutral in flavor, provide EAAs in proportions similar to whey protein, release EAA into the bloodstream without crystalline amino acids, and be stable/maintain protein quality over storage at high temperatures.
  • It should be easy to incorporate into various combat rations ranging from bars to complete entrees.
  • It should have minimal flavor or odor described as off-notes in sensory.

End-User: All U.S. military personnel deployed around the world in training and operational missions.

Background Information

This problem uses the new DoD 3235.02E Directive on Combat Feeding and Research Engineering that establishes policy and assigns responsibility to Combat Feeding R&E in the DoD.

Ask Me Anything Session

May 23, 2022: NSIN and Combat Feeding hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session.

About Combat Feeding

The CFD provides the Department of Defense with cutting edge research on emerging food technologies. It is a joint-service program responsible for research, development, testing, and integration and engineering for combat rations, food service equipment technology, and combat feeding systems. The CFD researches food processing and packaging technology to develop combat rations for all U.S. warfighters to optimize human performance through nutrition.


  • Combat Feeding