Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Novel Technologies

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The Challenge

Challenge Streams C and D are now closed for new applications.”

1. Overview

Together, We Can Reduce Food Waste.

Globally, food waste accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, largely from edible food decomposing in landfills. In Canada, more than half of our food supply is wasted every year - that’s over 50 billion dollars in avoidable food waste.

Solving the problem of food waste is complex and needs a variety of solutions. That is why the Challenge includes four targeted innovation streams to accelerate and advance the deployment of diverse and high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada.

Solutions can focus on preventing or diverting food waste at any point from farm to plate and should aim to make a dramatic and measurable reduction in food waste. Challenge Streams A and B are closed for new applications. Challenge Streams A and B are closed for new applications. The application deadline was January 18, 2021. Challenge Streams C and D are now closed for new applications.

2. The Challenge Streams

Streams A and B

Challenge Streams A and B are closed for applications. They support solutions that are ready for commercialization and that provide an innovative way of doing business (i.e. a new business model) to prevent or divert food waste across any or multiple segments of the food supply chain. These streams target solutions in their early commercialization phase to accelerate their growth and expansion in the Canadian market. Successful solutions will have a high impact in reducing the volume of food waste in absolute (total volume of food saved) or relative terms (percentage of food saved).

Streams C and D

Challenge Streams C and D are closed for new applications. They support novel technologies at the prototyping or testing phase which extend the life of perishable food or which transform surplus food (or food by-products) that would otherwise be wasted into another product. These streams target technologies in their early development phase to accelerate their advancement and prospective deployment in the Canadian market. Successful solutions are advancing technologies to make them more effective, efficient, scalable, and competitive.

  • Stream C focuses on technologies that extend the life of perishable foods by finding ways to slow the degradation of perishable food items and extend the length of time these food items may be stored before they become spoiled.
  • Stream D focuses on technologies that transform food waste by converting surplus food, food by-products, or food waste into other products, including: food for humans, food for animals/insects (e.g. animal feed), or non-food products.

3. Challenge Statements for Streams C and D

In order to be eligible for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, applicants’ solutions must leverage innovation to reduce food loss and waste as identified in the following Challenge statements:

Stream C: Technologies that Extend the Life of Food

Advance technologies that make perishable foods last longer; preserve food quality, safety, and nutritional value; and prevent food waste.

Stream D: Technologies that Transform Food Waste

Advance technologies that transform food waste, food by-products and/or surplus food into new foods or other products.

The field of innovation is vast under all streams. The above graphics represent a non-exhaustive list of examples that illustrate the breadth of the solutions space for Streams C and D.

Transcript

[Animated video on a paper-like background.]

[Rhythmic music starts with guitar chords and drums. Gradual build throughout.]

[A halved apple pops up in the middle of the screen and starts rotting rapidly.]

[Text slides in from the top.]

Text on screen: Instead of letting it rot...

[Suddenly, a rewinding graphic appears on the apple accompanied by a rewinding tape sound effect. The decaying apple spins around and starts reverting to its original state.]

[Text slides in at the top.]

Text on screen: Try to extend its shelf life!

[Spinning arrows appear below the apple as it becomes fresh again. Then, the sliced apple slides to the left side of the screen. An arrow points to four fresh apples that pop up on a shelf right next to it. A lightbulb appears next to the original apple and small check marks appear above the new apples.]

[Text slides in from all sides.]

Text on screen: What is your technology-based solution?

[The apples slide off screen. The Food Waste Reduction Cycle rolls into frame from the right revealing a few lines of text.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Novel technologies streams are open for submissions.

[The Food Waste Reduction Cycle flips over on itself revealing a ticking stopwatch. The bottom text disappears revealing a new line.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Deadline for submissions: August 31.

[The stopwatch flips over on itself revealing the Food Policy for Canada logo. The bottom text disappears revealing a new line.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Visit impact.canada.ca.

[The Canada wordmark appears on screen.]

[The music ends. The screen goes black.]

Transcript

[Animated video on a paper-like background.]

[Rhythmic music starts with guitar chords and drums. Gradual build throughout.]

[A strawberry pops up in the middle of the screen and starts rotting rapidly.]

[Text slides in from the top.]

Text on screen: Instead of letting it rot...

[Suddenly, a rewinding graphic appears on the strawberry accompanied by a rewinding tape sound effect. The decaying strawberry spins around and starts reverting to its original state.]

[Text slides in at the top.]

Text on screen: Try to turn it into a value-added product!

[Spinning arrows appear below the strawberry as it becomes fresh again. Then, the strawberry slides to the left side of the screen. An arrow appears next to it and points towards four value added products: jam, fruit rolls, soap and strawberry powder. A lightbulb appears next to the strawberry and small check marks appear above the processed products.]

[Text slides in from all sides.]

Text on screen: What is your technology-based solution?

[The strawberry and processed products slide off screen. The Food Waste Reduction Cycle rolls into frame from the right revealing a few lines of text.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Novel technologies streams are open for submissions.

[The Food Waste Reduction Cycle flips over on itself revealing a ticking stopwatch. The bottom text disappears revealing a new line.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Deadline for submissions: August 31.

[The stopwatch flips over on itself revealing the Food Policy for Canada logo. The bottom text disappears revealing a new line.]

Text on screen: Food Waste Reduction Challenge. Visit impact.canada.ca.

[The Canada wordmark appears on screen.]

[The music ends. The screen goes black.]

4. Challenge Objectives & Assessment Criteria of Streams C and D

AAFC is calling on innovators to submit an application for solutions based on novel technologies that:

Criteria Description
1. Are measurably effective They extend shelf life or productively transform food waste into a new item
2. Are innovative and potentially transformative Novel technologies that help open a new way forward
3. Could be scaled up There are many different ways the technology could be used (e.g., types of food covered, range of contexts)
4. Have market potential There is a demand for the technology
5. Are financially sustainable The solution will create economic and financial benefits
6. Improve our environment Reducing food waste means shrinking our greenhouse gas footprint and conserving natural resources
7. Keep our food safe and nutritious Solution supports access to safe, nutritious, and high-quality food

5. Key Dates for Challenge Streams C and D

  • Stage 1 - Concept Application

    Challenge Streams C and D are launched, and application intake is until August 31, 2021. Up to 18 Semi-Finalists with the most promising solutions across both streams will receive approximately $100,000 in late fall 2021 and move on to Stage 2.

  • Stage 2 - Prototype

    Beginning in late fall 2021, Semi-Finalists will build or complete an existing prototype of their technology. Up to 6 Semi-Finalists with the most impressive results from Stage 2 will receive approximately $450,000 in Fall 2022 and will move on to become Stage 3 Finalists.

  • Stage 3 - Product Ready and Testing

    Finalists at this stage will advance their prototype and test their technology in an operational environment with at least one implementation partner. Up to 2 Finalists with the most impressive results from Stage 3 will receive approximately $1,000,000 in spring 2024 and become a Grand Prize Winner for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge – Streams C and D.

Note: The number of winners and prize amounts are approximations and may vary depending on the applications received. Please see the Applicant Guide for detailed instructions about applying to Challenge Streams C and D.

6. Eligible Applicants for Challenge Streams C and D

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge is open to commercial and non-commercial organizations and individuals registered to do business in Canada. Specifically you can apply if you are:

  • A business and/or social enterprise of any size
  • A not-for-profit and/or charitable organization
  • An Indigenous organization and/or group
  • A post-secondary/academic institution
  • An Individual or group of individuals

International applicants with a Canadian partner or an ability to register to do business in Canada are encouraged to apply. Ideas and concepts can originate from anywhere globally, but to receive funding under the Challenge, the solutions presented in the submissions must be tested, piloted, demonstrated, and deployed in Canada.

The Applicant Guide for Streams C and D provides more details about the eligibility criteria for these streams.

7. Challenge Stream Selection Tool

Our interactive tool should help you identify which stream is the best fit for your solution.

Select your stream

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 2021
    Up to 18 semi-finalists announced
  • Fall 2022
    Stage 2 - Up to 6 finalists announced
  • Spring 2024
    Stage 3 - 2 Grand Prize Winners announced

Prizes

  • $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.