Pandamart Singapore, an online cloud grocery store, has entered into a partnership with free-sharing app Olio. The two are working together to reduce food waste in the Lion City by redistributing unsold food, for free, within local communities. The partnership came into effect in December 2021, with almost 400kg of food successfully donated. This equates to 900 meals, for 180 families.
Following the success of the initial trial store in the city’s Whampoa neighborhood, another two Pandamarts were added to the project last month. The Foodpanda-owned platform hopes to have all 15 stores enrolled in the program by the end of 2022.
The partnership is simple. Any Pandamart food closing in on its sell-by date, damaged canned goods and minor defective foods are offered to local communities, via the Olio app. One of the platform’s ‘food waste heroes’ will collect all of the goods before uploading them to the app for free collection. Items will be displayed under the ‘food’ tab of the app, with users able to request a pick-up, collecting points in the process.
Food waste heroes are responsible for taking a picture of what is available, listing the name and highlighting quantities. Consistent reminders about being courteous and turning up for collections, as arranged, are shown to all users.
The 400kg of food already redistributed comes from one Pandamart location. The company claims that this equates to 1700kg of CO2emissions not generated and more than 295,000 litres of water saved. The latest stores to be added to the partnership are in Rampines and Bukit Batok.
The need for food waste innovation
In excess of 100,000 Singaporean citizens use Olio already, sharing surplus food and unwanted non-food goods. Reportedly, more than half of all food listings added to Olio in the country are collected within half an hour. “Singaporeans are eager to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle and the traction we’ve seen from the trial with Pandamart is a great testament to that,” Tessa Clarke, CEO and co-founder of Olio said in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited to build on this pioneering partnership so we can support as many people and businesses as possible to become zero food waste.”
As one of Singapore’s major waste streams, food waste is a problem that presents a significant stumbling block to Singapore’s Zero Waste Master Plan. Olio and Pandamart working together is an attempt to alleviate perfectly edible food from being sent to landfill.
“While we try to ensure that the supply we procure at Pandamart coincides with our customers’ demand, it is inevitable that we will have excess food that will not get sold,” Laura Kantor, marketing and sustainability director for Foodpanda Singapore said in a statement. “Instead of throwing them away, we can reduce food waste by redistributing them, and our partnership with Olio allows us to easily and efficiently do so. Minimising food waste is one of the key pillars that shape our sustainability agenda at Foodpanda, and we are keen to play a bigger part in supporting Singapore’s plan towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation.”
Food waste on everybody’s minds
It’s not just Singapore that is actively trying to tackle its food waste. In the U.S., Google cafeterias are looking to take steps to reduce the likelihood of waste. Employees are reportedly returning to their offices across all 50 states, in the next two weeks. This means the cafeterias are reopening, but with new protocols in place, including smaller bowls, which it tested as a strategy prior to Covid lockdowns.
In the U.K., sustainability non-profit Wrap has conducted research into the correlation between plastic-encased fresh produce and food waste levels. Findings claim that selling items loose, in no packaging at all, with all ‘best-before’ dates removed, would have saved more than 10,200 tonnes of plastic waste and saved 100,000 tonnes of food from being uneaten. The figures are relative to the 18-month research period.
All photos by pandamart/OLIO.