Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Food Waste Reduction Challenge

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The Challenge

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 in avoidable food waste. Solving the problem of food waste is complex and needs a variety of solutions. That is why the Challenge will include 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 now open and accepting applications. Challenge Streams C and D are still under development with an anticipated launch of Spring 2021.

Four Challenge Streams

Challenge Streams A and B, are now open for concept applications. These streams will 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).

Challenge Streams C and D, will be launched in Spring 2021 and will focus on investments in technologies at the prototyping and testing phases to improve their effectiveness and make them ready for the Canadian market within the next two years.

Figure describing the challenge streams relative to technological readiness.
Figure 1 - Text version

This diagram shows the four streams of the challenge in four text boxes along two axes. Streams A (Business Models that Prevent Food Waste) and B (Business Models that Divert Food Waste) are grouped together under the heading “Deploy Business Models” and streams C (Technologies that Extend the Life of Food) and D (Technologies that Transform Food Waste) are grouped together under the heading “Advance Technologies”. The horizontal axis shows “prevent” and “divert” as part of a Food Waste Reduction Strategy, with streams A and C falling under “prevent” and streams B and D falling under “divert”. The vertical axis shows the Solution Readiness Level, with solutions at stages from concept to prototype to commercialization. Streams A and B fall at the commercialization stage and Streams C and D fall at the prototype stage.

Challenge Statements

AAFC is calling on food waste innovators to accelerate and scale the deployment of solutions that prevent food waste and/or divert food away from landfills.

A. Business Models that Prevent Food Waste

Accelerate and scale the deployment of innovative solutions that prevent food waste across the food supply chain.

B. Business Models that Divert Food Waste

Accelerate and scale the deployment of innovative solutions that create value from food waste, food by-products and/or surplus food.

Challenge Objectives & Assessment Criteria of Streams A and B

AAFC is calling on innovators to submit a concept application for solutions that:

  1. Can measurably reduce food waste – in dollars and metric tonnes;
  2. Are innovative and disruptive to the status quo – the old way of doing business is out;
  3. Are ready to scale up – it is time to deploy high-impact and wide-reaching solutions across the Canadian food supply chain;
  4. Have a strong business case – there is a demand for your solution;
  5. Make a difference to our communities – creating jobs and increasing access to safe, nutritious, and high-quality food is a priority; and,
  6. Improve our environment – reducing food waste means shrinking our GHG footprint and conserving natural resources.

For more information on the assessment criteria for Streams A and B, please see the Applicant Guide.

Which Challenge Stream Should you Apply to?

Try our interactive tool to help you identify which stream is the best fit for your solution.

Challenge Streams C and D (Coming Spring 2021)

C. Technologies that Extend the Life of Food

D. Technologies that Transform Food Waste

Interested in applying to Streams C and D? Sign up to be notified once Streams C and D are open for applications.

Challenge details: Streams A and B

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

  • Stage 1 – Concept Application Deadline: January 18, 2021
  • Up to 30 Semi-Finalists Announced: Late Winter/Early Spring 2021
  • Stage 2 Ends – Up to 12 Finalists Announced: Late Winter/Early Spring 2022
  • Stage 3 Ends - Grand Prize Winners Announced: Summer 2023


  • Up to 30 Semi-Finalists will be selected in Stage 1 and will receive approximately $100,000
  • Semi-Finalists will move into Stage 2 and compete for a chance to be a Finalist and receive approximately $400,000
  • Up to 12 Finalists will compete in Stage 3 to win one of two Grand Prizes of up to $1,500,000

Note: The number of winners and prize amounts may vary depending on the applications received.