What is the extent of the company’s social impact?
We see our impact through what we call our “movement”, which expands across five platforms or sectors: our app, households, businesses, education and politics. Collaborating with businesses, schools, households and political figures enables us to educate all the different stakeholders in our society, showing them what they can do to help. In terms of politics, we want to influence the government to include food waste on their agenda on local, regional, and national levels because unless this issue is addressed by the government, it will be very difficult to solve.
About 70% of food waste occurs on a household level. One of the issues that we identified is that, in Europe, 10% of its total food waste occurs due to the confusion over dates on labels. We have four different dates but only one of those is a safety measure: “Use by” is all about safety, “Best before” is for quality, “Sell by” and “Display until” is for store stocks. In the UK, people get very confused about what the different dates mean, so end up throwing things away to be extra cautious. We want to draw attention to this confusion to instigate change. This is also a huge issue for businesses, especially ones that have canteens. We work with a number of businesses to educate employees as well.
The final one is schools. We make a constant effort to educate the next generation about food waste. Our agenda is to empower them with the knowledge that we ourselves didn’t have when we were growing up so that they can avoid the mistakes we have made. We teach them what each of us can do to mitigate the issue. Having this awareness from a young age is very powerful as it becomes ingrained in their mindset. In fact, at the beginning of this year, we held our very first poetry competition for primary school children. We had over a thousand entries, and all of them wrote poems about food waste, what it meant to them, and how they think we can solve this. Campaigns like that go a long way in bringing food waste to the top of everyone’s agenda and making people realize that it is just as harmful as that plastic bottle you just threw in the bin.