The Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, has announced the six finalists of the Novel Technologies Streams for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. The list includes Chinova Bioworks, which makes a clean-label shelf-life extender from mushrooms. Minister Bibeau met virtually with the finalists and learned more about their promising solutions to reduce food waste.

"We are honored to be a finalist in the Novel Technologies Streams for the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. From day one, it's been our mission to use nature to reduce food waste," says Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks. "As a start-up and a food preservation disruptor, Chinova's achieved a lot over the years. To reduce food waste, we will continue to study the inner properties of the white button mushroom to provide innovative and natural solutions, such as Chiber, our clean-label and sustainable shelf-life extender, to fight this growing problem."

The other finalists are:

In January 2022, 18 semi-finalists each received $100,000 to build a prototype of their technology. After presenting the most promising ideas to an External Review Committee, the six finalists will now 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 of 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.

The Novel Technologies Streams, for which we are announcing the finalists today, 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. In total, 238 applications were received from innovators across Canada and around the world.

These six finalists are Canadian commercial organizations with diverse and 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 Food Waste Reduction Challenge was launched as part of the first-ever Food Policy for Canada, which serves as a roadmap for healthier, more innovative, and more 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 our food systems, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.