Get Wasted: Circular food platform that fights food waste
Food loss and food waste are still a substantial problem in the entire food value chain. This important problem deserves a bold solution. EIT Food and Growzer have found this in the circular economy.
From a circular perspective, the waste of one player is the raw material for another. EIT Food together with hospitality management platform Growzer, created Get Wasted: a two-sided online marketplace that brings together local suppliers and buyers of food that would otherwise go to waste. As a local marketplace, it facilitates supply and demand, helps a circular economy and supports the local ecosystem.
A circular food system is a sustainable system in which raw materials are used as efficiently as possible. In our current linear system, however, an estimated 30 to 40% of food is wasted annually. In production and distribution alone, € 60 billion goes lost in Europe. This is expensive and results in unnecessary CO2 emissions.
With a new software platform, Get Wasted, a spin-off of Growzer, we created an innovative solution for this problem while supporting the digitization of the food sector at the same time. Get Wasted is an online circular marketplace that connects the entire food value chain. The platform creates new outlets for food surpluses and residual flows from various actors in the food production and distribution chain.
Landfill or biofuel
Farmers and wholesalers regularly end up with rejected, but perfectly edible products due to incorrect colours or shapes. These volumes are often too large to be (fully) absorbed and distributed by the food banks. Additionally, the processing of certain food products creates residual flows. These waste streams could serve as raw material through repurposing or revalorizing if there was a link between producer and buyer. As a marketplace for these products currently doesn’t exist, most of these food products go to waste or are converted into biofuel for a fee.
Get Wasted aims to 'unburden' the parties involved with food surpluses or residual flows in an economically viable manner. The food cost of food waste converts Get Wasted into a triple win for planet, profit and people. This platform is a circular addition to the current regular market opportunities and the donations for food banks and poverty organizations. Today, the supply of surpluses exceeds the capacity to recover them. For example, in Flemish horticulture, 79% of food losses are still perfectly suitable for human consumption. This alone amounts to 233,000 tons per year. The economic and, at least as important, sustainable impact is enormous.
People, planet & profit
Get Wasted creates a motive for producers and suppliers of food to actively re-valorise residual flows. By attaching a cost price to this food, we avoid the creation of a market-disrupting secondary flow. The remuneration provides income instead of the cost of processing food into biofuel.
Farmers, as well as suppliers, restaurants, the food industry, supermarkets and buyers, can use the platform to offer or buy surpluses and residual flows. Industrial kitchens and restaurants, local retailers and processing companies that convert residual flows into new products or put them on their menu can also use Get Wasted. This also applies to processing companies in the social economy and innovative start-ups that process residual flows.
In addition, we are creating a sustainable offer for a niche for which this does not yet exist: schools, residential care centres and hospitals that want to purchase fresh, healthy food with limited budgets. In addition to the environmental impact, this circular business case also generates a social impact.
Because the supply of different actors comes together, this also offers opportunities for logistical bundling. A major gap in working with secondary food flows is the lack of a sustainable logistics network. As part of the project, we explore options like cargo pooling and cross-docking between our partners. This way, we work out the most optimal and sustainable design in relation to supply and demand. Through our innovative platform, we hope to be an inspiring example for circular initiatives in Belgium and beyond.
Further reading on the challenges and opportunities of circular food platforms can be found in this blog.
Platform Get Wasted turns surplus vegetables into soup for Antwerp schools
EIT Food, Sense, Rikolto, Special Fruit, Growzer and Groothandel Claessens launch a pilot project to prevent vegetable and fruit surpluses from going to waste, with the support of the City of Antwerp.