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Ag in brief: Food waste reduction challenge winners chosen


May 16, 2024  by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

This week, as part of Canadian Innovation Week 2024, Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the two grand prize winners of the Novel Technologies Streams for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, Clean Works Inc. and Genecis Bioindustries Inc.

The Challenge, launched in November 2020 in partnership with Impact Canada, supports high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. The Novel Technologies Streams focus on developing technological solutions to food waste. These solutions serve to extend the life of perishable food, or transform food waste into new products or value-added products.

Clean Works is a St. Catharines-based company that, with support from the Challenge, developed a solution that uses hydrogen peroxide, ozone and UV to control mildew and micro-organism growth in pre-harvest (greenhouses, field crops, grapevines) fruit and vegetables. This solution allows the shelf life of produce to be increased by up to 20%, which Clean Works estimates to prevent nearly 50 tonnes of food waste annually for grapes and spinach alone in Canada.

Genecis Bioindustries is a Toronto-based company that, with support from the Challenge, developed a specialized bacteria that transforms food waste into compostable bioplastics. Over the last 3 years, the company has diverted over 2.1 tonnes of food waste from the landfill, allowing them to produce around 5,000 tonnes of environmentally-friendly bioplastic at their Toronto facility each year.

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Clean Works and Genecis Bioindustries will each receive a grand prize of up to $1 million to help accelerate the advancement of their proprietary solutions and support their prospective deployment in the Canadian market.

By encouraging more solutions to food waste, we can increase food availability, save Canadians and businesses money, and strengthen our food systems, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Government will continue to support innovation in this area, to ensure that more of the high-quality products produced by our farmers and food processors reach Canadians.

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