Technology is a driving force of innovation in all industries today, from Uber and Airbnb to Deliveroo and justeat.ie
Technology can help improve all aspects of your business – from staff hire to cooking to delivery to customer service. Each issue, Tasty Eating we will bring you a new technology which we think might be of interest and benefit to you. This issue we look at food surplus.
An App to bring surplus food to the people who need it
Globally, we throw away 30 percent of the food we purchase, and not because it’s gone off but because we’ve over-ordered. In developed countries like US and Ireland, this can rise to 40 percent. In Ireland 1 person in 8 experiences food poverty, but 1 million tonnes of usable food are thrown out annually.
This is something people care about – from growers and suppliers to retailers and restaurateurs, to customers and consumers. Nobody likes to waste food.
An Irish company, FoodCloud, has come up with a brilliantly simple solution: through its online platform, it facilitates contact between farmers, manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and restaurants (anyone in the business of food production) and charities, who collect the surplus food and redistribute to people in need.
What type of Food does FoodCloud accept?
FoodCloud doesn’t accept hot food or leftovers as these are difficult to redistribute and food safety is a priority. FoodCloud accepts “surplus food that is perfectly fit for human consumption but cannot be sold for a variety of reasons. For example, fresh produce that will not be sold the next day, short dated products, products with slightly damaged packaging or mistakes in ordering”.
How does it work?
Big retailers like Tesco, Aldi and Lidl deliver their surplus food (or have it collected) to Food Hubs, large warehouses located round the country. Charities then place orders with the Hubs.
Smaller businesses, such as independent restaurants, upload a description of the food product through the FoodCloud app. Local charities receive a notification; if they’re interested, they respond; the retailer/restaurant is notified and the charity collects the food within the time allocated.
FoodCloud is simple to use, free for small businesses, and because you’re dealing with local charities for the homeless, the elderly etc, you benefit your local community. And you let customers know that you’re serious about not wasting food. FoodCloud provides signage and stickers so customers know you’ve signed up to the scheme.
FoodCloud is a highly successful Irish start-ups. Within two years of its founding in 2012, its founder Iseult Ward was featured in Time magazine as a Next Generation Leader. It operates in Ireland and the UK where it has signed up Tesco, Lidl and Aldi, and has ambitions for global reach. This is a growing global brand, launched from Ireland, and a great thing to be part of.
That said, fast food takeaways aren’t too guilty of food wastage because so much of the food used is frozen and it’s all made to order. Fast-food takeaways aren’t like supermarkets, throwing out tons of perfectly good food daily.
FoodCloud is a great option for occasional food surpluses that you might have, and a brilliant way to build a relationship with local charities. Regardless of whether you sign up, do display your environmental and social awareness by letting customers know that your takeaway or dinner isn’t reckless about wasting food.