Finalist category: Community Impact Award
Community Impact Award, Finalist, 2020
The hospitality sector wastes an astonishing amount of food every year, as surplus food, due to surplus being in small and varying quantities and with a short shelf life. This results in over 2.18 million meals going to waste each year, while one in eight people in the U.K. struggles to put food on the table.
Food Drop tackles this problem. Food Drop is a tech platform that connects unsold food to local charities. The Food Drop platform monitors surplus food levels in stores, and algorithmically allocates collections to local charities. Charity collections are coordinated via WhatsApp using Melony, an AI-powered chatbot, that utilises Natural Language Processing. It is easy for charities to share, manage and change their collections. Charities can also gain helpful information and pickup from several different brands in one trip.
Through utilising technology, retailers and charities have greater flexibility and support and improved traceability and safety. This ensures less food goes to waste, and more goes to those in need. A wide range of charities uses Food Drop as it helps charities to lower their operational costs and provide food for those in need. This means more time and money can be spent on supporting the communities they work in. The majority of charities fall within the micro (have an income of less than £10,00 a year) or small (have an income of less than £100,00 a year) category. During the beta launch from August to December 2019, Food Drop operated in the East of London (Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington & City of London). The team selected these local authorities, as they have some of the highest levels of child poverty across the U.K.
By December Food Drop had redistributed 14,000 items and out of the 14,000, 56% went to children and young people. A vast number of the partnered charities are youth clubs, who do not have the funds or kitchen facilities to provide food. Food Drop has now expanded nationally since December and redistributed over 1 million items of food and drink to charities across the U.K.
Food Drop plans to continue to expand nationally; currently they have over 700 charities on its waiting list.