Foodcloud marks million-meal level with new projects with retailers
Foodcloud - Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O'Brien's social enterprise that helps businesses donate surplus food to charity - has embarked on pilot projects with major Irish retailers after facilitating over a million meals in the last 12 months through its partnership with Tesco.
Ward, named one of Time magazine's 'Next Generation Leaders' at the end of last year, said the company is working with 335 charities including the Simon Community, Focus, and St Vincent de Paul. She said she was precluded from revealing which new retailers Foodcloud is working with.
The company's deal with Tesco, announced last July, sees the retailer distribute surplus food from its Irish stores to charities across the country through Foodcloud.
"Over the last 12 months we've really developed the infrastructure across the country... it's been fantastic to have the opportunity to work with the largest retailer to develop these kinds of systems and our model," Ward told the Sunday Independent.
"Now that we've done that with Tesco we're in a position to bring on more retailers on a national scale."
Since last week Foodcloud is operating in all 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland. It has also established a pilot project in the UK.
The Environmental Protection Agency-funded Stop Food Waste programme estimates that wasted food costs Irish households €700 on average every year.
According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, over a third of the food produced in the world is wasted.
"The financial costs of food wastage are substantial and amount to $1trn... food wastage also causes serious environmental impacts," the organisation said.
Orla Gilroy, CEO of Daisyhouse, a housing charity that provides temporary accommodation to the homeless, said partnership with Foodcloud has made a "terrific" difference to its residents.
"The food brings the women who live with us together and we've seen strong friendships develop as they swap and share food and recipes. It's great to come into the centre after a delivery and hear the laughter in the room," Gilroy said.
Labour Party Junior Minister Ann Phelan is set to be appointed Minister with responsibility for Social Enterprise in the coming week. The post has been vacant since Sean Sherlock was moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs last summer.
"This is a real good news story," Phelan told the Sunday Independent.
"Social enterprise epitomises the 'bottom up' approach in every sense and the potential in terms of job creation measures is incredibly important."
Sunday Indo Business