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Canada receives hundreds of applications for Food Waste Reduction Challenge

17 February 2021

Canada's Agriculture Ministry welcomes the "big and diverse" turnout of Food Waste Reduction Challenge applications, saying that the applicants' innovations are ready to tackle the issue.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an impressive turnout of 343 applications received from innovators in Canada and around the world as part of the Government of Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge.

An initiative under the Food Policy for Canada, the $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge was launched in November 2020 to accelerate and advance diverse and high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. Up to $10.8 million will be awarded under Streams A and B to innovators with business model solutions that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate.

Minister Bibeau said, "our Government has made fighting food waste a priority, under the Food Policy for Canada. It is encouraging to see just how many innovators there are across Canada ready to step up with solutions to tackling this significant issue. Reducing food waste means we are reducing greenhouse gases while increasing food availability. It can save consumers money and open up exciting new business opportunities. I look forward to seeing the results of this exciting challenge.”

Of the 343 applications received, 27% were submitted by applicants who self-identified as youth (30 years old and under), 30% by applicants who self-identified as from a visible minority group and 32% by applicants who self-identified as women.

Streams A and B opened on November 19, 2020 and closed on January 18, 2021. Applications are being assessed and the first round of winners will be announced in the coming months. Streams C and D are scheduled to launch in spring 2021, and will focus on new technologies that extend the life of food or transform food waste into new foods or value-added products.

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.

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. In addition to economic costs, food waste produces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. At the same time, a growing number of Canadians are facing food insecurity.
  • Approximately 30 innovators will be selected by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to receive $100,000 and become semi-finalists for Streams A and B. The semi-finalists will be announced this spring. At the third and last stage, one winner per stream will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1.5 million.
  • Data related to applicants was collected through an optional survey and is not shared or used for assessment purposes.
  • The Government of Canada also supported the reduction of food waste through the $50‑million Surplus Food Rescue Program, which aimed to move surplus food commodities through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians during COVID-19.
  • The Government of Canada also recently announced $6 million through the AgriInnovate Program to Enterra Feed Corporation to reduce food waste. The investment aims to increase the production of sustainable, nutritious feed for animals while helping to keep food out of landfills.
  • 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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