The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Marie-Claude Bibeau has announced the 18 semi-finalists selected under the Novel Technologies Streams to find new solutions to food waste.
According to AAFC, every year over half of Canada’s food supply is wasted, and nearly $50 billion of that wasted food is avoidable.
“Every single submission we received has tremendous potential to help us tackle (these) issues,” says Minister Bibeau.
The challenge, originally launched in November of 2020, aims to deliver high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. The Novel Technologies Streams is focused on technological solutions to food waste to extend the life of perishable food, transform food waste and accelerate advancement in the Canadian market.
The second round of the challenge attracted 238 applications from innovators across Canada and around the world.
The 18 semi-finalists’ entries span a diverse range of areas including green chemistry to create natural additives, edible coatings, or bioplastics.
Each semi-finalist will receive $100,000 and move on to the prototype development stage of the challenge. Over the next eight months, semi-finalists will build or complete an existing prototype of their technology and report on their solution’s effectiveness. A total of six finalists for the Novel Technologies Streams will be selected, each receiving up to an additional $450,000, with finalists competing to win one of two grand prizes of up to $1 million.
Minister Bibeau also acknowledged Thursday afternoon that when it comes to food waste, one of the concerns for Canadians is surrounding P.E.I. potatoes, and the government of Canada is currently working hard to re-open the U.S. market.
“We are also buying some potatoes for food banks,” says Bibeau. “We might have to destroy a part of it — likely around 10 per cent. But that would be the very last solution.”