Project Aim: To Minimise Food Waste by routing surplus food to those that need in, within the local area
We live in a world where around 40% of all food is wasted, but we have people and families, even in major cities, going hungry.
What if there was a way for this surplus food to be efficiently distributed to those that need it, whether they be charities or individuals?
BreadAlert aims to allow food ‘producers’ (supermarkets, food processing plants, farms, convenience stores, bakers etc) to easily distribute their surplus to food ‘consumers’ (charities, food banks, food kitchens, individuals) that need it, with the goal being to DRAMATICALLY increase the amount of surplus food that goes to those in need rather than going to landfill or be used as animal feed.
BreadAlert will provide a platform (accessed through the web, smartphone apps or SMS) that will allow such consumers to be alerted of available food within their local area, and minimise the effort of distributing that food.
One of the biggest areas of food waste is at the consumer level, but common sense would suggest that in due course individual households would be allowed to redistribute their surplus food, BreadAlert could be used for that too.
A recent Eurostat report (http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do) showed that 8% of the UK population were unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day. In addition, the use of food banks is increasing, but they are restricted on what they can offer, relying on donations, and there is stigma attached to their use.
We are proposing a much more efficient distribution of surplus food, within a local area. The target for this platform is those who are in food poverty, or those who are extremely cost conscious over food. Food poverty is a growing problem in the UK, with a rise of 163% in the use of food banks over the last 12 months (Lancet). In a recent report highlighted by the SNP, it is estimated that 8% of the UK population is in food poverty, some 5.1 million people. Across Europe this number would be over 32 million and 46 million in the United States.
At the same time, a recent study by the UK parliament stated that only 2% of edible food waste was currently donated to charity, BreadAlert would allow supermarkets to offer up their surplus food to those who need it. Recently, many supermarkets have stated an intention to donate more of their surplus, but there is no common mechanism for this, instead it relies on the goodwill of employees in each store. BreadAlert would allow them to publish the surplus, and utilise built-in rules to have that surplus routed to the most appropriate organisation.
The money we are raising would allow us to build the system to hold this central database of available surplus, hosted on cloud technology to cater for variable demand and a number of front-ends that would allow the users to publish the availability of their surplus and consumers to be made aware of its availability. The implementation will be such that the system can be used throughout the UK, and even worldwide, so the potential impact could be huge for a modest initial outlay.
Some sample functionality is illustrated below:
Eventually we would like to see the major supermarkets agree to interface automatically with BreadAlert, so that their surplus food would automatically be fed into our system, allowing the amount of surplus that can be utilised to be near 100%. THAT would be the ultimate aim.