In an Australian first, social enterprise Yume has launched a click-to-donate scheme that helps reduce food waste by enabling food suppliers to donate surplus product to food-rescue organisations online.
The new tool was made possible through $165,000 funding from the Recycling Victoria Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIS) from last year.
Founded in 2016, the social enterprise has spent five years working with some of the biggest names in food manufacturing, such as Unilever, Mars Food, and General Mills, to reduce food waste generated every year in the commercial sector. Australia currently discards 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, with 42 per cent coming from business.
“Our focus, until now, has been uncovering and selling high-quality surplus food on the Yume platform, which has prevented close to 3 million kgs of food from going to waste while returning over $8 million dollars to Australian businesses to date,” said Katy Barfield, CEO & founder of Yume.
“Unfortunately, not everything on our online platform gets sold, which means great food is still going to waste. We saw this as an opportunity to improve the food donation initiatives already happening within large-scale food producers and designed a one-stop solution for these producers to have the option to sell or donate surplus food, all within the Yume online platform.”
Yezdi Daruwalla, MD at Unilever Food Solutions, says that since partnering with Yume in 2018, the company has prevented 40,000kg of surplus food from going to waste – equivalent to 79,526kg of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and 7.7 million litres of water from going to waste.
“Now, with Yume’s updated platform, the process is even more straightforward, and just this month, we sent hundreds of cartons of tea to Foodbank Victoria, with the simple click of a button,” said Daruwalla.
As a participant in the CivVic Labs Program, an accelerator program that connects startups with government procurement opportunities, the social enterprise worked with the Victorian Government’s startup agency, LaunchVic, on bringing the technology to life.
“We are excited to see Yume take the next step in their startup journey, especially the important task of managing food waste,” said Dr Kate Cornick, CEO at LaunchVic.
“The capital they have secured will help them refine their product offer and propel their long-term growth – something LaunchVic is focused on ensuring right across all aspects of the Victorian startup sector.”