Reducing food wastage during a crisis

Rupkatha Bhowmick

In trying times like now owing to the spread of COVID-19, social distancing has become an imperative and in most countries a directive; and people are restricted from eating out. Dubai’s newest app FoodKarma, however, is adding a dash of excitement to those who are still seeking delicious food, while reducing food wastage.

Launched by Eugenie Dronneau this month, the app allows eco-mindful consumers to buy food at discounted prices, while helping food businesses in the region to cut down on the amount of perfectly good food that they have to often throw away.

FoodKarma has already collaborated with a number of restaurants and cafés – such as Appetite, Cooloo Tamam, Ultra Brasserie and Wild & The Moon – that are eager to offer tasty, high-quality food at discounted prices, every day. The underpinning approach is that merchants will list food items on the FoodKarma platform at a reduced price to be bought by businesses and consumers before it is too late.

FoodKarma comes at a time when restaurants and cafés are taking a hit amidst the spread of COVID-19. Thus, the app is not charging any fee to get listed, while helping the cafés and restaurants generate their daily income and tackling food waste at the same time.

“Although the convenience of delivery apps helps ease the difficulties of customers getting food during social distancing, it could also cost a lot when used regularly,” Dronneau observes. “A lot of cafés and restaurants are facing less footfall, putting a strain on their ability to sell products. Add to that, the uncertainty around managing their food manufacturing and distribution. FoodKarma helps them to manage any excess production and avoid wastage by facilitating the distribution channel that connects them with end-users who can rescue the food. And restaurants listed with us don’t have to pay any commission, as of now.”

FoodKarma’s ultimate goal is to help save approximately three million tonnes of food wasted every year in the UAE, worth AED13 billion. “Although this will involve a paradigm and mindset shift in both businesses and consumers, we fundamentally believe that it’s a win-win scenario for everyone,” Dronneau states.

“Food waste in Europe and across the world is a global issue, and has been a serious topic for quite some time now. Although, there are various entities seeking to mitigate and solve the problem internationally, there are very few groups dedicated to providing solutions to address food wastage in the Middle East. FoodKarma is seeking to create a platform to provide solutions to combat food waste not just within restaurants, but also within hotels, wholesalers, local producers and supermarkets,” she concludes.