App to dramatically reduce food waste could be a game changer

FoodLoop is a business-to-business app which connects suppliers of surplus food to those in need of the produce.

It comes after it is estimated 6.4million tonnes of edible food is wasted in the UK every year - the equivalent of more than 15 billion meals.

The app is an initiative of the No Food Wasted forum, set up by local food and drink champions Produced in Kent in the summer of 2020.

It brings together businesses, charities, community initiatives and individuals working to reduce food waste and create greater access to good food for all in Kent and is backed by Kent County Council and other local councils.

Now, after eight months of fundraising for the project, it is going to be trialled in Kent for 12 months.

Also taking part in the pilot project will be Northamptonshire, through its Made in Northamptonshire (MiN) organisation, after it contacted Produced in Kent, keen to get involved.

Floortje Hoette, CEO of Produced in Kent, explained: "FoodLoop could be a game changer in reducing edible food waste levels in the food-producing sector.

“It enables the county’s growers, producers, butchers, farmers and shops, restaurants and pubs to connect with and get food to those who need it.

"Food-sharing apps such as OLIO and Too Good To Go have proven to be powerful online tools to minimise household food waste and redistribute surplus food directly to the consumer. FoodLoop offers a business-to-business solution, typically for larger quantities of fresh and ambient food within a county, creating a local circular economy for surplus food with a very small carbon footprint.

"Surplus food can be made into a new product or redistributed to those in need, giving more people access to a greater variety of good food. We are incredibly grateful to all the food loop champions and crowd funding donors who have helped to make this happen”.

As of this week, businesses, charities and community initiatives can register here for free to take part in the trial.

Adds the Produced in Kent chief: “Key to the success of the project is that as many organisations as possible sign up to the app and take part in the trial which runs from April 4, 2022 to February 6, 2023”.

Rachel Mallows, CEO of MiN, added:, ”Thanks to the support received from our local council we are able to participate in this exciting project. If FoodLoop is successful in Kent and Northamptonshire, then there is no reason why it could not be taken on by other counties in the UK. We have to all work together to eliminate edible food waste.”

During the trial, data will be collected to give insight into the volume of food waste being upcycled, redistributed and recycled through FoodLoop in Kent and in Northamptonshire.

This, say the team behind the project, "will help to inform further action and policy development around food waste elimination".

Source: Kent Online