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Canada launches second half of its $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge

At a virtual event on 25 May, Agriculture Minister Bibeau launched the novel technology streams segment of Canada's Food Waste Reduction Challenge, an initiative under the Food Policy for Canada.

27 May 2021, at 7:30am

Every year, over half of Canada's food supply is wasted, and nearly $50 billion of that wasted food is avoidable.

To help spark new ideas and engage diverse perspectives, the Government of Canada launched the $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge in November 2020, calling for innovators to deliver game-changing solutions to this long-standing and complex issue.

Speaking at the virtual event, MP Terry Beach said, "The environmental, social and economic benefits of reducing food waste are huge. It means less greenhouse gas emissions while increasing food availability. It can save consumers and businesses money and create new business opportunities."

The Challenge's novel technology streams (Streams C and D) are now open for concept applications with a closing date of 31 August 2021. Up to $6.5 million in prize funding will be awarded to innovators with novel technologies that can extend the life of food or transform food that would otherwise be lost or wasted.

Minister Bibeau said:

"The Food Waste Reduction Challenge is revealing the tremendous appetite and ingenuity across Canada to tackle the problem of food waste head-on. We are calling innovators of all types and sizes to bring forward new and innovative technological solutions that will extend the life of food or transform food waste. Our Government is committed to empowering our innovators and creating a truly sustainable food system in Canada."

To learn more, including how to apply, visit the Food Waste Reduction Challenge website.

Background

Minister Bibeau and MP Beech were joined by food waste experts Bruce Hardy, Founder of Myera Group; Tyler Hennick, Global Analytics Lead at McCain Foods; Dr. Jean-Charles Le Vallée, Canadian Country Representative to the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Costa Rica; and Dr. Tammara Soma, Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University and Research Director of the Food Systems Lab.

By encouraging more solutions to food waste in Canadian society, we can increase food availability, save consumers and businesses money and strengthen our food systems, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Entries to the Challenge will be evaluated against established criteria, including technology effectiveness, level of innovation and scalability, impact on food safety and integrity as well as environmental and economic benefits.

Eligible applicants include: businesses and social enterprises of any size; not-for-profit and charitable organizations; Indigenous organizations and groups; academic institutions; and individuals or a group of individuals.

  • The Challenge is open to international applicants with a Canadian partner or an ability to register to do business in Canada and solutions must be deployed in Canada.
  • For Streams C and D, up to 18 semi-finalists will be selected by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to receive $100,000 and move on to develop prototypes of their technology over an eight-month period. Then, up to six finalists will receive up to an additional $450,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of their solution over one year. At the final stage, one winner per stream will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1 million.
  • Applications for Streams A and B, which focus on business model solutions that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm to plate, opened 19 November 2020 and closed 18 January 2021. This first round of the Challenge attracted 343 applications from innovators in Canada and around the world and the 24 semi-finalists were announced on 7 May 2021.