Canada names Food Waste Reduction Challenge finalists

Six finalists in the Novel Technologies Stream portion of Canada's Food Waste Reduction Challenge will each use $450,000 to test their innovations in an operational environment.

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Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced the six finalists of the Novel Technologies Streams for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge.

In January 2022, 18 semi-finalists each received $100,000 to build a prototype of their innovative technology. After presenting the most promising ideas to an external review committee, the six finalists will receive up to $450,000 each to test their technology in an operational environment with at least one partner. They are competing to win one of two grand prizes worth up to $1 million.

With $20 million in funding, the challenge, launched in November 2020 by the government of Canada, aims to deliver high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada and accelerate their rollout. The challenge is divided into four streams within two groups.

“Every year, Canada wastes more than half of its food supply,” Bibeau says. “The six finalists of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge’s Novel Technologies Streams are proposing original solutions to this problem. I wish them good luck as they test their prototypes in an operational environment.” 

These six finalists are Canadian commercial organizations with diverse, innovative technologies that can, for example, be used to prevent spoilage of pre-harvest crops, extend the shelf life of food, and transform food waste into compostable bioplastics.

The finalists include the following companies:

  • Alt Tex Inc. of Kitchener, Ontario. Through its novel biomaterial fermentation technology, Alt Tex is creating biodegradable and carbon-neutral textiles re-engineered from food waste with the aim of replacing polyester.
  • Aruna Revolution Health Inc. of Trois-Rivières, Québec. Aruna’s sustainable compostable menstrual pads and tampons are developed from processed agricultural waste (vegetable and fruit fibers) in a circular bioeconomy model.
  • Chinova Bioworks Inc. of Fredericton, New Brunswick. Using the power of mushrooms, Chinova’s clean-label solution improves the quality, freshness and shelf-life of food and beverage products which promotes the reduction of food waste from farm to fork.
  • Clean Works Inc. of St. Catharines, Ontario. Using a combination of hydrogen peroxide, ozone and ultra violet light, this solution will be able to control mildew and micro-organism growth in pre-harvest fruits and vegetables in greenhouses, fields and on grapevines.
  • Carbon Lock Tech of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This solution converts food waste into a stable form of biocarbon that sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide, prevents future landfill methane emissions, and supports sustainable agriculture.
  • Genecis Bioindustries Inc.of Scarborough, Ontario. Genecis engineers use specialized bacteria to transform food waste into compostable bioplastics.

The Novel Technologies Stream focuses on developing technological solutions to food waste. These solutions should extend the life of perishable food or transform food waste into new products or value-added products.

In total, 238 applications were received from innovators across Canada and around the world.

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge was launched as part of the Food Policy for Canada, a roadmap for healthier, more innovative, sustainable food systems. With new solutions to reduce food waste, the government of Canada aims to increase food availability, save consumers and businesses money, increase farmers’ revenue and strengthen Canada’s food systems while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge’s Novel Technologies Streams entries were evaluated against established criteria, including potential volume of food waste reduction, level of innovation and scalability, as well as environmental, social and economic benefits.

 

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