As part of the Food Policy for Canada, the Government of Canada invested $20 million in the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Launched in November 2020, the Challenge aims to deliver high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. The Challenge brings together innovators from across the country who have new ideas and perspectives to create a more sustainable food system in Canada.
As food waste is a complex issue with no single solution, the Challenge was divided into two cohorts, enabling innovative solutions for different areas. The Business Model Streams support innovators with business model solutions that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate. The Novel Technologies Streams focus on novel technologies that can extend the life of food or transform food waste into new foods or value-added products.
Each cohort has its own External Review Committee composed of subject matter experts from a diverse range of backgrounds. The two committees play an important role in reviewing solutions and recommending winners at each stage of the Challenge. The committees evaluate entries against established criteria:
- potential volume of food waste reduction;
- level of innovation and scalability; and,
- environmental, social and economic benefits.
In January 2022, under the Novel Technologies Streams, the committee selected 18 semi-finalists to move forward to the prototype development stage. With entries spanning a diverse range of areas including green chemistry to create natural additives, edible coatings, or bioplastics, finalists will compete over the next 8 months to win one of 6 finalist spots. From there, the 6 will compete for one of two grand prizes of up to $1 million.
In May 2022, at the current stage of the Business Model Streams, the committee will select 12 finalists from the chosen 24 semi-finalists to receive up to $400,000. Finalists will compete to become one of two grand prize winners who demonstrate the most impressive results. Finalists will have one year to accelerate and commercialize their solution by acquiring new customers or users and growing their presence in Canada. Each grand prize winner will each receive up to $1.5 million.
By encouraging more solutions to food waste, we can increase food availability, save consumers and businesses money, strengthen our food systems, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each Challenge solution has tremendous potential to help tackle the problem of food waste head on in Canada
Visit the Impact Canada website - Business Model Streams for up-to-date information as the Food Waste Reduction Challenge progresses.
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