A Solution to Food Waste - An Interview with Treedots
Friday Aug 16,2019 | Startup News
“By 2050, there will be over 10 billion people living on the planet. We will need to increase production capacity by around 60% to feed everyone on the globe, and we believe innovation is very much a solution,” - Mark Van Binsbergen, CEO, Rabobank Singapore
This quote seems almost tailor made to introduce Treedots, a tech start up from Singapore poised as Asia’s first wholesaler for “not fit for sale” food.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.
Treedots and their team are not targeting the food wasted in shops or while cooking. They’re targeting the massive tonnage of food that doesn’t even make it to the shelves of supermarkets because they’re deemed “not fit for sale”. “Many people will think that our products are rotten and very ugly; but actually most of our products look exactly like a normal product. “Usually, they are usually dumped simply because of oversupply or because they don't comply with industry specifications, for example chicken being smaller than 1.2kg,” said Tylor Jong, a current student undergoing Singapore Management University’s Business Innovation Generator Programme.
So how does Treedots work?
It’s really very easy!
Treedots approaches suppliers for food they can’t sell, list it on the Treedots platform and app, buyers order their desired product via their ordering channels, and Treedots will collect and deliver the items!
How did this get started?
“My co-founders and I were having a drink...” started Tylor.
“We were discussing what was going on in our lives, and one of my co-founders just finished an exchange program in Germany where he saw many green initiatives to tackle food waste”, Tylor continued.
“One memorable one is where most supermarkets in Europe have a corner for food that are nearing their expiry dates which are retailing at a hugely discounted price.
“I thought to myself, there aren’t any initiatives in supermarkets in Singapore!” he said.
The question that came up after that conversation was, “Where is all the food waste in Singapore going to?”
Tylor and his co-founders set out to find out the truth with that question ringing in their heads, and the rest, as they say, was history.
“When we first set out to get suppliers on board, it was a lot of cold door knocking,” said Tylor.
“It wasn’t easy at the start, suppliers didn’t want to hear us out but what is rewarding is that buyers are slowly starting to see our value and are more willing to come on board and join us on this mission against food waste.”
“It is heart-warming to see that we are able to bring the change in Singapore”.
Since January 2018, Treedots has saved 173 tonnes of food which is the equivalent of a water footprint that could provide 3.8 million people with drinking water for the entire year, a carbon footprint equivalent to taking 336 cars off the road for an entire year!
With a start like this, we can expect great things from Tylor Jong and Treedots.
Treedots is part of the Business Innovation Generator (BIG), an incubation programme at Singapore Management University designed to nurture entrepreneurs through knowledge transfer and a strong support infrastructure.
Find out more about Treedots here.