Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Novel Technologies

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The reviewers

B. Pratyusha Chennupati

Chemical Engineer, Plant Scientist
and Regulatory Expert

  • Full bio

    B. Pratyusha Chennupati is a chemical engineer from India, specializing in fermentation. She came to Canada in 2010 to pursue her master’s degree in plant science at McGill University. Since then, she has been a senior plant scientist and regulatory specialist for companies that design products to help farmers protect their crops from pests, insects and diseases. She is currently Regulatory Affairs Manager for Heliae, a food and agricultural technology company based in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2020, she was selected to join the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council, a consultative body to the Canadian government bringing young Canadians with diverse perspectives and expertise who are engaged and passionate about the future of the agri-food sector. She has also worked for Nufarm, Inocucor Technologies Inc. and with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to ensure they have all the necessary research and information to determine safety and efficacy requirements.

Maria G. Corradini

Food Science Professor and
Arrell Chair in Food Quality

  • Full bio

    Maria G. Corradini is an Associate Professor in Food Science and the Arrell Chair in Food Quality at the Arrell Food Institute (University of Guelph). During her career, she has focused on developing procedures and protocols to identify and assess changes in food quality and safety linked to processing and handling practices throughout the supply chain, from producer to consumer. She has also developed and validated mathematical models to evaluate and predict how food processing and handling practices can favor or act in detriment of food quality, safety, and nutritional content. Using a systems dynamics perspective, she has leveraged her expertise to participate as the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator in research projects that take an integrative view of food quality, safety and security conditions within communities in Argentina (City of Buenos Aires), China (City of Macau), and USA (Newark, NJ).

Michael Gänzle

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Food Microbiology and Probiotics

  • Full bio

    Dr. Michael Gänzle is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Food Microbiology and Probiotics (Tier I) at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He was educated in Food Engineering and Food Microbiology at the Universität Hohenheim, Oregon State University, and the Technische Universität München. His research aims to link microbial physiology and ecology to food quality and host health. His research interests include the development of novel non-thermal technologies for food preservation, aiming to understand mechanisms of bacterial resistance to pathogen intervention technologies, and the functional characterization of lactic acid bacteria for use as starter cultures or probiotics in food and agricultural applications. Dr. Gänzle serves as Associate Editor of “Frontiers in Microbiology” and is member of the editorial board of “Food Microbiology”, “Applied and Environmental Microbiology”, and the “International Journal of Food Microbiology”.

Shelley R. King

Founding CEO of
Natural Products Canada

  • Full bio

    As founding CEO of Natural Products Canada (NPC), Shelley King has positioned Canada as a global trailblazer in the natural product sector. For 25 years, she has married her scientific background in academia with her in-depth knowledge of entrepreneurship and industry to help Canadian innovations go from bright idea to market-ready product. NPC has made connections with more than 800 organizations nationally, involved more than 600 companies in its development pipeline, and invested in 10 early stage enterprises. Shelley has also served as VP, Research and Business Development for Genome Atlantic; CEO of Synapse; and president of biotechnology start-up NovaLipids Inc. A sharp risk-taker, relationship broker, and bridge builder, Shelley holds an MSc in medicine and an MBA from Memorial University.

Maynard Kolskog

Certified Research Chef and
Culinary Instructor

  • Full bio

    Maynard Kolskog has been a chef and culinary instructor for nearly forty years. He has been a culinary instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) for the past twenty years. After developing curriculae and teaching molecular gastronomy, he became interested in applied research. He received his research chef certification from the Research Chef Association in March of 2017. Since then he has worked on several projects at NAIT’s Centre for Culinary Innovation, mostly featuring plant-based foods that range from ice cream, pasta, and baked goods to fermented oat cheese, oat miso, and meat analogues. Many of these projects are in partnership with the Alberta Pulse Growers, the University of Alberta, and Prairie Oat Growers Association, along with many private clients.

Ron Lemaire

President of the Canadian Produce
Marketing Association

  • Full bio

    Ron Lemaire brings 27 years of experience from a not-for-profit association perspective, with a focus on vertically integrated supply chains, sustainability, government relations, advocacy, marketing, and public/private partnerships. As President of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), he has represented the needs and interests of over 800 Canadian and international member companies responsible for over 90% of the fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada. Working within the fresh produce world for over 19 years, Mr. Lemaire has become acquainted with the challenges and opportunities within the sector. In 2019, he launched the CPMA Plastic Packaging Working Group to address the use of plastics within the produce sector, and develop an industry-supported roadmap to ensure food quality and safety while reducing the environmental impact of plastics. He is also on the Board of the Canada Plastics Pac and a founding partner of the National Agri-Food Sustainability Index Steering Committee.

Chris Marinangeli

Nutritional Scientist
and Food Industry Regulatory Expert

  • Full bio

    Chris Marinangeli is a scientist and food industry professional with over 10 years of experience across consumer packaged goods and the Canadian agriculture sector. He is experienced at leveraging human nutritional sciences to create new opportunities for differentiation and business growth. He is also a recognized expert in national and international food regulations. His expertise includes navigating technology, health sciences, and consumer insights and equity for developing strategies and tactics to meet business needs. Formerly Senior Director Research and Regulatory Affairs at Pulse Canada, he is currently Director of the Regulatory Centre of Excellence at Protein Industries Canada. Prior positions include that of Senior Manager of Nutritional Science and Regulatory Affairs at Kellogg Canada and board member for the Canadian Federation of Dietetic Research. He has a PhD in Food Science and Human Clinical Nutrition from the University of Manitoba and is an enthusiastic public speaker on food trends and industry opportunities within the pulse sector.

Shianne McKay

Senior Project Manager, Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources

  • Full bio

    Shianne McKay is a Senior Project Manager at the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER). She is responsible for all stages in developing and delivering projects related to CIER’s thematic areas (Water, Climate Change and Energy, Traditional Knowledge, Biodiversity, Youth, Indigenous Food Sovereignty, and Sustainable Waste Management). She is also responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative initiatives and partnerships with Indigenous communities, government agencies, private sector companies, philanthropic and charitable organizations, non-profits and academic institutions. She has 14 years of experience in the Environmental Conservation Sciences field and 13 years working directly with First Nation communities. She is Ojibway and a member of the Pine Creek First Nation in Manitoba. She has a B.Sc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences with a major in Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta. In 2013, Shianne received a certificate in Indigenous Women in Community Leadership from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.

Chelsea Meisner

Food Scientist
and Food Product Developer

  • Full bio

    As a Food Scientist with over 12 years experience, Chelsea Meisner has experience in development, scale up, commercial production and stability of new food products. Over the years in her various jobs in North America, Chelsea has experience from concept to commercialization, manufacturing and quality control. Her product portfolio consists of working on value-added products, condiments, vegan cheese, energy drinks, coffee beverages, protein bars and dairy-free ice cream. Chelsea’s areas of speciality and current focus are beverage development, specifically craft alcoholic beverages and brewing, and cannabis edibles. She has developed several products that are on store shelves in the USA and Canada. Chelsea was also successful in creating a line of soft chew cannabis edibles for Cannabis 2.0 launch in December of 2019. Currently at Perennia Food and Agriculture in Nova Scotia, Chelsea is helping various clients throughout their product development journeys.

Barbara Miller

Food Industry Executive
and Consultant

  • Full bio

    For more than 15 years, Barbara Miller has been CEO of a management consulting firm focused on strategy, business development and public-private sector collaboration. This has included start-up leadership roles with the Canadian Food Innovation Network as the Interim CEO, the Ontario Brain Institute and the Mental Health Commission of Canada and has provided strategic advice to organizations like the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Let’s Talk Science and Queen’s University. She is an experienced food industry professional having held positions as Division President of Ault Foods (Parmalat) and Category Director, Marketing with the Campbell Soup Company. She is also a former Deputy Minister with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and served in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs as Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Administrative Officer and Director of the Food Industry Competitiveness Branch.

Mathieu Robert

Engineering Professor and Canada Research Chair in Polymer Eco-Composites

  • Full bio

    Mathieu Robert has been an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS) since 2012. Professor Robert is the Canada Research Chair on Polymer Eco-Composites (2016–) and is the Scientific Director of the Carrefour d’innovation en technologies écologiques (CITÉ) at UdeS. His expertise is based on using different agri-food biomasses to develop innovative bio-sourced materials for various fields of application (e.g. food packaging, transportation, building). Since 2016, Prof. Robert has trained nearly 40 graduate students who are currently working in research and development in the field of eco-materials, in addition to publishing more than 65 articles in international journals.

Dérick Rousseau

Food Science Professor

  • Full bio

    Dérick Rousseau is a Professor of Food Science at Ryerson University. He runs the Food Research Laboratory at Ryerson University, focusing on developing foods and soft materials with improved physical and compositional properties. Lab research is based on the structuring of colloidal systems such as emulsions and gels using unique, innovative research approaches and access to world-class research tools. The results are processed foods with an extended shelf life, lower calories and less fat. Work undertaken in the laboratories has real-life applications, from lab to grocery shelves. Dérick acquired his PhD in lipid crystallization at the University of Guelph (1997), has published over 170 research articles, made over 280 presentations and acquired three patents in his field. He has collaborated with international industrial partners on processed foods, crude oil and personal care products.

Challenge details: Streams C and D

Who can apply

  • Businesses and social enterprises of any size
  • Not-for-profit and charitable organizations
  • Indigenous organizations and groups
  • Post-secondary/academic institutions
  • Individuals or group of individuals

International applicants with a Canadian partner or an ability to register to do business in Canada are encouraged to apply.

Key dates

  • August 31, 2021
    Stage 1 - Concept application deadline
  • Late Fall / Winter 2021
    Up to 18 semi-finalists announced
  • Late Fall / Winter 2022
    Stage 2 - Up to 6 finalists announced
  • Spring 2024
    Stage 3 - 2 Grand Prize Winners announced


  • $100,000
    Up to 18 semi-finalists will be selected in Stage 1 and will receive approximately $100,000.
  • $450,000
    Semi-finalists will move into Stage 2 and compete for a chance to be a finalists and receive approximately $450,000.
  • $1,000,000
    Finalists will compete in Stage 3 to win one of two Grand Prizes of up to $1,000,000.