Ottawa launches Food Waste Reduction Challenge

More than half of Canada’s food supply goes waste. Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Ottawa: The Government of Canada has launched the first two streams of its Food Waste Reduction Challenge, part of the Food Policy for Canada.

The launch was done by Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food while speaking at the 2020 Arrell Food Summit held online.

According to estimates, more than half of Canada’s food supply is wasted annually and $49.5 billion of that wasted food is avoidable. Food is wasted from farm to plate, through production, processing, distribution, retail, food-service and at home.

Challenge Streams A and B are now open for concept applications with a closing date of January 18, 2021. Up to $10.8 million will be awarded to innovators with an innovative way of “doing business” (that is, a new business model) that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate.

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will use a stage-gated approach to move innovators through the process of developing and deploying their solutions.

At each stage of the Challenge, an external group of subject matter experts will recommend which applicants move to the following stage and receive funding. For Challenge Streams A and B, at the last stage, one winner per stream will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1.5M.

Funding will be awarded to those whose innovative solutions have the potential of reducing the most amount of food waste, with a focus on new innovators looking to accelerate and grow their solutions and who may not have the necessary resources.

Altogether, the Food Waste Reduction Challenge is a $20M investment. The launch of two additional challenge streams focused on technological solutions to food waste is planned for spring 2021. Challenge Streams C and D will support technologies that can extend the life of food or transform food that would otherwise be lost or wasted.

Marie-Claude Bibeau said: “Reducing food waste is necessary for so many reasons: it can help save consumers money, improve food security, support efficiency in the agriculture and food sector, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through this exciting challenge, our Government is finding new ways of reducing food waste across the supply chain.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said: “In order to meet our climate targets, Canada must address emissions from all sectors, including emissions from food loss and waste. From production to transportation, to disposal in landfills, food loss and waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will help Canadians develop innovative and effective solutions to this problem and I am excited to see the results.”

Charlotte Yates – the University of Guelph President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “As Canada’s ‘food university’, the University of Guelph applauds Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on the announcement of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge at the 2020 Arrell Food Summit.

This challenge will help spur innovative solutions to the problem of food waste throughout Canada’s food supply chain. It also aligns perfectly with U of G’s Arrell Food Institute’s mission of elevating our food system to improve life.”

• 8% of all greenhouse gases worldwide are the result of food waste.

• Eligible participants of the Challenge could include for-profit and non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, community groups, Canadian academic institutions, regional and municipal governments, and individuals. The Challenge is open to international applicants with a Canadian partner or the ability to register to do business in Canada.

• The 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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