Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Federal government launches food waste reduction competition


November 24, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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On Nov. 19, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau launched the first two streams of the Government of Canada’s 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 Jan. 18, 2021. Up to $10.8 million will be awarded to applicants 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.

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The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will use a stage-gated approach to move the selected applicants 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. At the last stage of Challenge Streams A and B, one winner per stream will be awarded a grand prize of up to $1.5 million.

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

Altogether, the Food Waste Reduction Challenge is a $20-million 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.