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The solution to food waste is in your pocket

October 26, 2016 By: Muska Ulhaq

The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) are proud to announce the 2016 RBC Impact Entrepreneurs who will be showcased at the 9th annual Social Finance Forum. Taking place on October and 27th and 28th, the Social Finance Forum is the best place to engage and profile leaders in Canada’s diverse social finance scene and to capture advancements from the world stage.

I hate to say it, but I’m guilty. I’ve been guilty of throwing out perfectly good food for a very, very long time.

Growing up, I was a picky eater. I didn’t think twice about where my food was coming from, or where it went when I threw it in the garbage.

These days, my outlook is a little bit different and the issue of food waste is on my mind in a major way. My eyes were opened to the realities of food waste when a few months back, I got a distressed call from my sister (a chef in a catering company), because she had been instructed to throw out thousands of dollars of food, without any alternative solution for how that food could be re-purposed.

My mind started racing, I began to look into the points in the food cycle where food is wasted, and the statistics are staggering. It blows my mind to think that in a world that experiences hunger and food shortages en masse, we are guilty of wasting almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons) every year. For context, that’s equivalent to every single person throwing out one third of the food on their plates at every meal.

And it happens at all levels – from the farmers, to the distributors, to the retailers and to us at home. Food waste means wasted money and a massive amount of carbon emissions going into the atmosphere as food rots and creates methane gas.

Surely we can do better than this.

My sister’s dilemma inspired me to create Flashfood , an app that allows grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and bakeries to sell high-quality, surplus food at steep discounts to savvy users who can browse deals in their area and purchase items directly through Flashfood – saving money for users, increasing revenue for vendors and lessening our collective environmental impact.

For our small team, and the partners we’ve started to work with, Flashfood is a no-brainer. We see the incredible potential of a market-based tool to offer a new solution to one of our most pressing social and environmental challenges.

By: Josh Domingues, CEO of Flashfood