Every day a staggering amount of food is wasted across Ireland and it’s a problem we need to immediately address, said Iseult Ward, the co-founder of an innovative app that helps redistribute food to those most in need.
The app connects businesses that have surplus food with charities that provide meals for those in need. Businesses upload details of their leftover food which sends a text message to local charities that can then collect the donation.
While it was established in 2013, last year was arguably the firm’s most successful year. It hit a major milestone of 1m meals re-distributed, won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award, and Ms Ward was listed as one of Time’s Next Generation Leaders.
The magazine hailed her as “instrumental in tackling food waste and fighting hunger” in this country, highlighting the fact Foodcloud facilitates the donation of more than a tonne of surplus food every day “in a country still emerging from a financial crisis that has hit the poor particularly bad”.
All the attention gave Foodcloud a welcome boost, said Ms Ward. Foodcloud has now distributed almost 1.5m meals, a figure which is growing daily.
“I think we gained a lot of exposure after the Time piece and after the award. We were really able to build on that momentum. We had a lot more people contacting us in the second half of last year than we had the previous year,” said Ms Ward.
“Hopefully for the coming year, we will get more retailers on board. We’ve been in touch with pretty much all the major retailers and they have all expressed an interest. By the end of 2016 we hope to have pilot projects with all the major retailers. We’re also hoping to double the number of charities on board.”
Foodcloud currently operates in 27 counties and will shortly be in use across the pond. Ms Ward, along with Foodcloud co-founder Aoibheann O’Brien, has secured a trial with 14 Tesco supermarkets in the UK.
“The UK as been very active about the problem recently and has become more conscious about its food waste which has been filtering through to Ireland. There’s a lot more happening lately but it’s still a big problem. Hopefully in 2016 the problem of food waste will improve,” said Ms Ward.
“It’s been an amazing journey and it’s been amazing to watch the organisation grow. I think Aoibheann would agree as well that it’s been great to see the different people who have joined the team and come on board and taken up the challenge. It’s great to see others become so passionate and enthusiastic about it as well.”
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