App For Food Waste Reduction

‘A love for food and a distaste for waste’: Iseult Ward (left) and Aoibheann O’Brien in the FoodCloud warehouse in Dublin. Photograph: Mark Nixon for the Observer

‘A love for food and a distaste for waste’: Iseult Ward (left) and Aoibheann O’Brien in the FoodCloud warehouse in Dublin.
Photograph: Mark Nixon for the Observer

Thanks to the Guardian for their coverage of stories about reducing food waste:

FoodCloud: new app proves a nourishing idea for wasted food

The distribution of surplus food in Ireland is being transformed by FoodCloud. Killian Fox meets the duo behind the venture

Killian Fox

Within one community, there can be a business that’s throwing away perfectly good food and just around the corner there’s a charity that’s struggling to feed people in need,” says Iseult Ward of FoodCloud, a remarkable social enterprise which she co-founded with Aoibheann O’Brien in 2012. “We wanted to connect the two.”

Ward, who is 26, was studying business and economics at Trinity College, Dublin, where O’Brien, 31, was completing a masters in environmental science. Neither were particularly tech-savvy – they bonded over “a love for food and a distaste for waste” – but that didn’t deter them from using technology to address the problem. “We developed an app that would help businesses notify charities when they had surplus food available,” says Ward.

It took them a year and a half to build. To use FoodCloud, the retailer simply uploads details of what’s available to the app. Local charities receive that information automatically, collect the surplus food at an appointed time and distribute it to those in need. The idea appealed to Tesco Ireland, which offered FoodCloud a trial just as Ward was finishing her degree. Tesco later introduced the service to all of its 140 stores around Ireland.

Now FoodCloud is expanding. In partnership with the food supply organisation FareShare, the start-up is helping 929 Tesco stores donate to 3,979 charities around the UK. According to Rachel Finn, Tesco’s head of community food projects, “We’re going to need about 5,000 charities to make sure all that food finds a home.”

But why did this disconnect between retailers and charities exist? An estimated 1.9m tons of food is wasted in the UK grocery supply chain every year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap). Meanwhile food poverty is on the rise – figures from the Trussell Trust show that food-bank use has increased more than 40-fold in the UK since 2008-09. It seems indefensible that supermarkets are throwing away good produce…

Read the whole story here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s