Young Entrepreneurs Awards Finalist: Iseult Ward
Country of impact: UK and Ireland
A social enterprise connecting the food industry to charities, using an innovative tech platform to redistribute good food that would otherwise be wasted.
In 2013, while studying business at university, Iseult and her friend Aoibheann O’Brien discovered that over 30% of food produced globally was lost or wasted, much of it completely edible. At the same time, almost a billion people were going hungry. Digging deeper, they discovered the problem was just as acute in their home country, Ireland, where 1 in 8 people experience food poverty.
Getting good food to those who need it
And so they got to work developing FoodCloud. The platform connects businesses with surplus food to charities in their community. For example, someone working in a supermarket can upload details of food they have to donate to the FoodCloud app, which then sends a message to a local charity letting them know of the donation and the time they can collect it. With businesses having to pay for throwing out food waste, it’s win–win for everyone.
KARE Social Services is a case in point. The Irish charity provides services to the elderly and vulnerable. From 2014 to 2016, 20% of their food was collected from retailers Tesco and Aldi through FoodCloud, saving them about €3,000 per week.
FoodCloud also offers a support centre, data on social and environmental impact, and full traceability and due diligence for food safety. They are also developing the quality and quantity of data collected so that partner businesses can use it to improve their operations, offering further commercial benefit.
The future is connected
FoodCloud now works with over 2,000 supermarkets in the UK and Ireland, and has redistributed over 22 million meals to those who need it most. In May 2017 alone, the equivalent of 1 million meals were distributed through the platform to 5,000 charities. Its goal over the next two years is to grow its network to 6,000 donating stores and over 10,000 charities. It is also exploring how it could expand the platform into other international markets.