OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Canadian government will invest C$10.8 million toward innovative business models that prevent or divert food waste at any point in the food supply chain. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau, launched the first two streams of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge which is part of the Food Policy for Canada.

Funding will be awarded based on innovative solutions that have the potential of reducing the most amount of food waste. The program focuses on new innovators looking to accelerate and grow their solutions and who may not have the necessary resources.

More than half of Canada’s food supply is wasted annually and C$49.5 billion of that wasted food is avoidable, according to government estimates. Food waste occurs through production, processing, distribution, retail, foodservice and at home.

“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,” Bibeau said. “Through this exciting challenge, our government is finding new ways of reducing food waste across the supply chain.”

Challenge Streams A and B are now open for concept applications with a closing date of Jan. 18, 2021. The Food Waste Reduction Challenge will use a stage-gated approach to move participants 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 next 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 C$1.5 million.

“In order to meet our climate targets, Canada must address emissions from all sectors, including emissions from food loss and waste,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “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.”

Canada will launch two additional challenge streams in spring 2021. Challenge Streams C and D will support technologies that can extend the shelf life of food or transform food that would otherwise be lost or wasted. Altogether, the Food Waste Reduction Challenge is a C$20 million investment.