BCFN Young Earth Solutions YES!
NoWastApp Abstract: The project addresses the theme of food waste with a focus on waste in distribution and final consumption. The idea consists on a software for Smartphone that works as a social network and online auction and is integrated with maps and a feedback system. The geographical area is mainly urban regions in developed countries and its impact regards economic gains, environmental issues and food security. It is based on the idea that a specific problem, such as food waste in restaurants and catering, requires a particular solution and that innovation and technology can play an essential role on guiding our behaviors.
Claudia Pereira da Conceicao
Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition
NoWastApp BCFN Young Earth Solutions! Claudia Pereira da ConceiĂ§ĂŁo
Marketing and distribution
NoWastApp Introduction The attention on food waste is recently growing. Food Waste is a broad issue and involves many concerns regarding sustainability, food security, carbon emissions, and nutrition. According to BCFN, food waste is a wide phenomenon, that takes place in the whole food supply chain, from manufacturing to final consumption, and also includes “intentional choices, based on which perfectly edible food is discarded and “thrown away”” (BCFN, 2012, p. 20). In a context in which one billion people is undernourished the fact that one third of total food production is wasted reveals a paradox of our society and our way of living.
Food waste at the end of the food supply chain is a major concern in urban areas and in particular in developed countries where it varies from 95 to 115 kg per capita per year (BCFN, 2012, p. 46). On the other hand, in metropolitan areas, the high concentration of educated people and a general access to transportation give many opportunities to address this problem through technology and innovation.
The project This project will focus on food waste in the final stages of the supply chain, in particular, in distribution from catering and restaurants to final consumers. It consists on an application for Smartphone that connect suppliers (bars, restaurants, hotels) to customers on a social network. The implementation will be maily in developed countries and potentially in big cities in developing regions. The software will work as follows.
Step 1 After a regular working day the supplier check what is left but is still eatable and prepare a “meal box” trying to combine small portions of different food and beverage. For example, if a café has yogurts, pastries and fruits left over, it could prepare a general “breakfast box”. In different circumstances the product could be
more specific such as a “veggie box” or “low-fat dinner box”. The idea of preparing a box with small portions and big variety is convenient for two reasons. Firstly, because the food wasted in catering and restaurants consists mainly in small amounts of different products. Secondly, because a box with a complete meal is probably an easier product to sell and it has an extra value than single small portions.
Step 2 The supplier inserts a starting price on the social network with a brief description of the boxes and the closing time. For example, supposing that a restaurant has some hamburgers left from lunch and want to sell them before dinner, they could publish a bid for ten “children-dinner-boxes” , starting from €1.50 each, until 5 pm. Setting the right time is important since it is a way to target customers that are willing to pay only for a cheap take-away dinner and to avoid to miss customers from the regular service.
Step 3 The user online will be notified and able to see on the map the bids available in her area. If interested, one could participate to the online auction and enter the amount (s)he is willing to pay for the box. The auction closes at the predetermined time, the customer pays online the amount and goes to take his food.
Step 4 A feedback system will be available and each supplier will be ranked according to the quality of the food offered, timing and service.
Preparing the box
Inserting a bid on the Social Networt
NoWastApp potential impact The impact could be huge since the project contributes to decrease food waste both from catering and from households. In particular, NoWastApp provides a unique solution to the problem considered since it targets a phase of the supply chain and a geographical area that are the most relevant. In fact, wasting on final distribution and consumption are important variables (14% of the food wasted is from catering and 62% is from households) (BCFN, 2012, pp. 30-31) and also because food waste is a major concern in urban areas in developed countries. This idea could be a win-win-win-win (supplier-customer-food security-environment) strategy since it reduces food waste and therefore carbon footprint, while providing a surplus to both restaurants and customers. In addition, the initiative has a high potential in promoting the store since NoWastApp represents a green and social responsible innovation. The customer can benefit from the lower prices and from saving time. The map integrated in the software makes the service very easy and fast to access since at any time it will be possible to see if there are biddings taking place in the surroundings. In addition, the Map system could reduce the need for transportation supporting the ¨Km 0” phenomenon. Moreover, is a tool against food waste in households. For example, a single person that wants a rich dinner instead of buying several big packages at the supermarket (and waste leftovers) she could, instead, take a box and have a complete and diverse meal already cooked.
Implementation As regard to financial aspects, the amount required for developing the application, with an appealing graphic, from an average software company is around USD 700010000 and the necessary time is around one month. Investing in marketing, communication and promotion could be an asset but additional funding is needed. However, once implemented, the project is sustainable and could generate income charging a percentage of the transactions. Moreover, this basic idea could be extended to big cities in developing countries throw an online platform on which Smartphones are a common item and could include extra services such as delivery or discounts promoting the “regular” service of the store.
Final remarks We are living in a complex society, we face everyday several challenges and most of them are not comparable with anything experienced before. Taking action can be frustrating since the effects of our initiatives are always smaller than our ideals. However, technology has the power to connect individual actions worldwide providing innovative solutions to emerging problems.
Bibliography BCFN, B. C. (2012). Food Waste: causes, impacts and proposals. Codice Edizioni.
Published on Oct 2, 2012