Businesses begin unlocking the value of food waste through upcycling

Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 10 September 2021

Re(Purpose) Incubator ready to support six businesses in Ontario

Submit your application today at coil.eco/repurpose.

Guelph, Ont., September 10, 2021–Today the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office and Provision Coalition Inc. are launching the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad’s (COIL) newest business support program, Re(Purpose) Incubator – the food and beverage industry’s new home for upcycling commercialization.

This commercialization project received funding through the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative.

The Re(Purpose) Incubator provides food and beverage companies a simple pathway to ingredient and product commercialization for their unavoidable food waste.

“In Canada, 68 per cent of our food waste is “unavoidable" and most of this waste comes from by-products created during food and beverage manufacturing," says Cher Mereweather, President & CEO, Provision Coalition. “The good news, most of these wasted by-products are high in nutrients and by upcycling them we can capture that value and transform them into ingredients or new products that keep these valuable resources in the food system.”

Six companies from across Ontario will be selected by a committee over the next six months to participate in the Re(Purpose) Incubator. The selected companies will be guided through Provision Coalition’s step-by-step methodology to create a new upcycled ingredient or product so that their by-products can start generating revenue. In the end, companies will reduce their unavoidable waste and keep nutrients in the food system, aligning their business practices with circular economy principles and the growing demands of eco-conscious consumers.

The three-stage upcycling methodology involves food waste quantification, nutritional and economic analysis and product commercialization. Within each phase, companies will work with a network of experienced food scientists, engineers and marketers to analyze the financial, operational and market potential of the upcycled product.

Applications are being accepted and reviewed as they come in. Interested businesses can apply at coil.eco/repurpose.

“The Re(Purpose) Incubator is a great addition to the growing number of programs and resources available through Our Food Future and COIL,” says David Messer, Manager, COIL. “By reimagining food waste within the manufacturing process, businesses will keep more nutrients in our food system, reduce waste and increase their economic value. We’re excited by the interest in businesses to become more circular and the support by partners and funders such as Provision Coalition and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to make these programs a reality for Ontario businesses.”

“Agri-food research is key to building a stronger agri-food sector in Ontario,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Repurposing what would otherwise be considered food waste into useable products is an innovative way of building more sustainable and viable food system that will benefit the food manufacturing industry, our environment and economy.”

About COIL

COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. 

The initiative was launched in April 2021.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media contacts

Cher Mereweather, President & CEO
Provision Coalition
519-822-2042
cmereweather@provisioncoalition.com

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
barbara.swartzentruber@guelph.ca

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661

david.messer@guelph.ca