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Canada selects 24 innovators for its Food Waste Reduction Challenge semi-finals

11 May 2021

The 24 semi-finalists for the $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge have pitched diverse and high-impact solutions for Canada's food waste issues.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the 24 semi-finalists for Streams A and B of the $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge, an initiative under the Food Policy for Canada.

The Challenge was launched in November 2020 to accelerate and advance diverse and high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. Streams A and B focus on business model solutions that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm to plate.

Commenting on the challenge, Minister Bibeau said, “the benefits of reducing our food waste are enormous, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing food availability, to saving consumers and businesses money. Through the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, we are empowering entrepreneurs as they work hard to advance innovative solutions to tackle this important issue. Congratulations to all of the participants for bringing fresh ideas to the table, and to the semi-finalists as you move to the next stage of development.”

This first round of the Challenge attracted 343 applications from innovators across Canada and around the world. The 24 semi-finalists’ entries span a diverse range of areas including production, inventory management, transportation, food waste measurement, marketplace solutions, food safety, food recovery, upcycling, and organic waste treatment.

Each semi-finalist will receive $100,000 and move on to the market demonstration stage of the Challenge. Over the next eight months, semi-finalists will pilot their solutions in Canada through rigorous testing, evaluation and reporting on their solution’s effectiveness. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will then select up to 12 finalists for Streams A and B. Each finalist will receive up to an additional $400,000, with one winner per stream awarded a grand prize of up to $1.5 million.

Visit the Food Waste Reduction Challenge website to see more information on the semi-finalists and an in-depth explanation of the initiative.

Background

  • According to estimates, more than half of Canada’s food supply is wasted annually and nearly $50 billion of that wasted food is avoidable. 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 were evaluated against established criteria, including potential volume of food waste reduction, level of innovation and scalability as well as environmental, social and economic benefits.
  • An External Review Committee, composed of subject matter experts from a diverse range of backgrounds, plays an important role in reviewing solutions and recommending winners at each stage of the Challenge.
  • The launch of Challenge Streams C and D, which will focus on technological solutions to food waste, is planned for spring 2021.
  • The first-ever Food Policy for Canada is a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada – one that builds on the Government's ambitious agenda to support the growth of Canada's farmers and food businesses.


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