USING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TO FIGHT HUNGER AND SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT

Although the pandemic has made the world a more challenging place to live in over the past 24 months, there is growing optimism that 2022 will see strong economic recovery, reduced Covid-19 restrictions, better public management of the pandemic, and a more positive outlook emerging regarding overall recovery.

While businesses are working hard to rebuild, and NPOs are working even harder to keep up with the growing demand for food relief and social support, following escalating unemployment and malnutrition, we hope that this year will see government deliver better value for our hard-earned money in terms of stronger leadership, improved service delivery, better management of public funds, and greater support for NPOs undertaking crucial social services in under-served communities across the country.

With an estimated 30 million people in South Africa living on the margins of society – and extremely vulnerable, procuring food to address widespread food insecurity is not only costly but simply unsustainable.

This is why FoodForward SA’s FoodBanking model is such a valuable proposition to address food insecurity at scale. At FoodForward SA, we partner with farmers, manufacturers, and retailers, to recover good quality, edible surplus food, before it is lost or wasted.

 

According to the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), more than 10 million tons of food is either lost or wasted throughout the supply chain each year – from farm to fork, costing our economy more than R61,5bn annually (CSIR Technical Report: May 2021). The reason why we have so much, mostly usable surplus food is due to unavoidable dynamics in the food supply chain, which may include but is not limited to:

  1. Over-production
  2. Over-ordering / inaccurate forecasting
  3. Incorrectly labelled products
  4. Slightly blemished fresh produce or damaged goods
  5. Short-dated products

The CSIR estimate that 27% of our food loss and waste occur on farms and post-harvest handling, while a whopping 49% takes place during processing / manufacturing, and 18% at household level. This is why we partner with several credible commercial farmers and large food manufacturers, to timeously intercept their edible surplus food before it is lost or wasted. This recovery process saves our food donor partners millions of Rands in cost-savings and incentives, and we are able to use this good food to feed people who desperately need it. It’s a win-win.

While only 6% of our food is lost or wasted in the retail sector – stores and distribution centres, this represents over 600,000 tons of potentially good quality food– which translates into more than 2,4 billion meals annually. If we are able to recover just 50% of this food, we can steadily work towards eliminating hunger in South Africa.

For this reason, FoodForward SA developed FoodShare – our very own digital platform. While FoodShare manages our entire Beneficiary Organisation (BO) database, as well as our offline monitoring and vetting of BOs, FoodShare’s capability was initially designed around the recovery of good quality edible surplus food from retail stores, as well as quick-service restaurants.

Forward-thinking partners like Pick n Pay, Woolworths, and Food Lovers Market realised that if they partnered with FoodForward SA, they could solve supply chain challenges, help their bottom line, save the environment, and receive tax certificates for their donations, while all the while ensuring that this surplus food is used to feed people

As inequality deepens across our country, fewer people will be able to afford food to survive. Through FoodShare, we are using digital solutions to combat hunger and save the environment. Join the #foodrecoveryrevolution.

Andy Du Plessis

Managing Director

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