Creatively Cutting Food Loss: Food Waste Initiatives in the UAE
We are Bestby, an e-commerce platform that fights food waste by monitoring and providing sellers and customers access to food items close to best-by dates at discounted prices. This is how we in Bestby plan to fight food waste, but it got us thinking - what are the other food waste initiatives in the UAE with the same goal? In this article, we tell you what we’ve found for everyday consumers, homesteaders, and environmentalists, ways in which you can engage in the fight to a low carbon movement by cutting food waste!
Food Waste Apps
Can you fight the good fight while scrolling on your phone right at home? BonApp says yes while helping you create a bang for your buck.
This app with a delightfully fun pun (another one!) for a name brings their customers a similarly delightful array of discounted meals offered by different restaurants with their last minute meals. A few taps on their app and one delivery later: you just saved a meal from finding itself in the bin. Bravo! We love this idea because it’s taking a step that’s much needed in the Food & Beverages sector of the Hospitality Industry - the largest contributor of food waste in the UAE.
Approximately, this industry carries a massive 30% of the food waste which is an equivalent of 4.45B AED. A round of applause to BonApp for taking on this big shark!
Supermarkets contribute to 17% of food waste similarly, often times due to throwing surplus items that are nearing its expiry or damaged packaging of a food item. Not to worry, these supermarkets are carrying their weight and making a change.
Organics Discount Store - In Dubai, the Organics store on Sheikh Zayed Road (next to Oasis Mall) houses a warehouse right next to the store that sells items nearing their expiry date at astounding low costs. We can’t tell you how excited we were to see Mussels for less than half its regular price! This was a really good find and we recommend giving it a visit.
Spinney’s I’mperfect Campaign - This wholesome initiative gives the ugly ducklings of vegetables a stage to shine on. Focused on selling ‘Ugly Vegetables’ Spinneys has taken the step of selling imperfect vegetables, i.e. good on the inside, bad on the outside, at lower prices. Most fruits and vegetables that aren’t Hollywood ready are usually disposed off and does not appear on supermarket shelves. Next time when you see a two legged carrot or a bruised onion, think about this - it’s on the inside that counts!
Have you heard of Sahem for Hope? This community driven initiative enables food access to those who need it. It works to connect those who can help with members of society whose access to food has been disrupted since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group’s colorful instagram highlights all that’s great in community work: connections, selflessness, and compassion. Sahem for Hope may not have the direct goal of reducing food waste, but we give it its rightfully owned brownie points by diverting excess food to those who need it.
Tech & Things
Technology has taken its promise to fight for the cause. We were introduced to Winnow Solutions - a digital tool that provides data to drive improvements in kitchen production processes helping food waste in half, saving money while reducing environmental footprint at the same time. Using digital scales and a tablet, chefs can quickly record food that’s thrown away. Teams then receive reports helping them track areas of waste and enabling them to cut costs accordingly. Used in restaurants and hotel kitchens, Winnow Solutions has proudly saved 5 million AED in savings for its clients. Win, win, win-now!
Food Waste Pledge
The UAE’s efforts to battle this issue is truly commendable. Having the ambitious goal of reducing its food waste by half by the year 2030, the UAE is heavily investing in Agritech. As 85% of food is currently imported in the UAE, the country is now spending billions of dollars on research and development to create means of food production while ensuring food security for its population.
Similarly, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has created the #FoodWastePledge, an initiative that calls on the hospitality sector to adopt waste-saving and efficient food production practices. The Ministry calls on other kitchens, chefs, and businesses across the UAE to pledge to prevent waste working towards a goal of 3 Million meals yearly by 2020. If this fits your script, take the pledge today!
Did we miss anything? Write in the comments below what food waste initiative deserves a shout out!