Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC): Canada Food Waste Reduction Challenge


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Under the Food Policy for Canada


Food Waste Reduction Challenge


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. The application deadline was January 18, 2021. Challenge Streams C and D are open for applications until August 31, 2021

The Food Waste Reduction Challenge is composed of four different streams:

Stream A: Business Models that Prevent Food Waste (Closed for applications in January 2021)
Stream B: Business Models that Divert Food Waste (Closed for applications in January 2021)
Stream C: Technologies that Extend the Life of Food (Open for applications in May 2021)
Stream D: Technologies that Transform Food Waste (Open for applications in May 2021)

Stream C focuses on technologies that extend the life of perishable foods to reduce the creation of food waste by slowing the degradation mechanism of specific perishable food items and extending the length of time these food items may be stored without becoming unsuitable for use or consumption.

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.

Streams C and D focus on technologies that are at the prototype and testing phases to improve their effectiveness and make them ready for market within the next two years.


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.


Up to $6.5 million in total will be awarded to semi-finalists, finalists and grand prize winners under Streams C and D of the Challenge.

Prizes by Stage

  • Stage 1: Concept- Up to eighteen semi-finalists will be selected in Stage 1 and will receive approximately $100,000 per semi-finalist.  Stage duration is three months.  
  • Stage 2: Prototype- Up to six finalists will be selected in Stage 2 and compete for a chance to be a finalist and receive approximately $450,000 per finalist.  Stage duration is eight months. 
  • Stage 3: Product ready and testing- Two winners (one per stream) will be selected and will receive $1,000,000 per winner.  Stage duration is one year.  

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page. 


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Please submit the application using the online application portal on the Food Waste Reduction Challenge website. Please also submit an OR-5 and a copy of the completed application to

How to Apply

Only applications submitted through the Impact Canada website via the designated Challenge application portal will be accepted. Applications must be submitted through the portal no later than August 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Please also submit an OR-5 and a copy of the completed application to

Additional Challenge information, including process, timelines, specific deadlines, prizes, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), are available on the Challenge website.

In order for an application to be considered for the Challenge, applicants must complete and submit the following documents online by the closing date and time indicated above, and on the Challenge website. A complete application package consists of:

Challenge application form:

  • Applicant details
  • Proposed solution details
  • Declaration
  • Survey (optional)

Letters of support from partners (if applicable); Confirmation of legal entity and/or not-for-profit status (if applicable).

Incomplete applications will not be assessed or further considered.

For More Information

For any questions or clarifications regarding the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, please contact the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Food Programs and Challenges Division team at

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