Feds funding food waste challenges

OTTAWA – The federal government has launched the first two streams of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, part of the Food Policy for Canada.

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” (i.e. 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, 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.

Technological solutions

Two additional challenge streams focused on technological solutions to food waste are 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.

“The National Zero Waste Council congratulates Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on introducing the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, which will help address food loss and waste by giving our nation’s small and medium companies a chance to scale up their innovative business models while also encouraging leadership from the biggest players,” said Malcolm Brodie, chairman of the National Zero Waste Council.

“We are pleased that the Challenge aligns so well with our Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada, and applaud the Government of Canada for its leadership and support for efforts to reduce food loss and waste for the benefit of Canada’s food security, economy and climate.”