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How Digital Technology is Creating Better Access to Food

In South Africa 10 million tons of food goes to waste annually. FoodShare, FoodForward SA’s very own virtual foodbanking programme, was rolled out in 2017 and since then has become a game changer for addressing food insecurity. Through FoodShare, we enable the virtual management and distribution of surplus food donations at retail stores.

Our beneficiary organisations (BOs) who are interested in benefiting from FoodShare apply online and are vetted before becoming part of our BO network. Using reverse billing USSD cell phone technology, BOs are assigned slots to collect the surplus food from participating retail stores, Pick n Pay, Food Lover’s Market and Woolworths. Before each collection, authorised collection staff are sent a unique code, which is given to the store to verify. The BO can then take the food, after weighing the groceries in specific categories and inputting the tonnage into FoodShare.

an outline of the foodshare process

Since it is a digital platform, the technology is easily scalable. While creating access to food is the primary aim, FoodShare also offers a B2B solution to the growing problem of food waste in the retail sector. Furthermore, FoodShare helps us save the environment, as good quality surplus food is being diverted away from landfills, towards feeding vulnerable people.

The FoodShare platform is currently undergoing extensive development, which will enable WhatsApp integration, the management of food collections from FoodForward SA’s warehouses and Mobile Rural Depots, and a report writing tool, among others.

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