In a collaboration with the Victorian Government, Unilever, Mars Food, and General Mills, Yume has developed Australian-first technology to tackle commercial food waste.
The social enterprise has developed a one stop solution for producers to sell or donate surplus food, all on the Yume platform.
In August, Yume CEO and founder Katy Barfield told Food & Drink Business: “No one has invested money into streamlining the end-to-end clearance process plug in, so that is what we’re doing.
“We want to manage it from surplus right through to sale or donation. We don’t want to change what the companies are doing; we just want to make it efficient.”
For five years, Yume CEO and founder Katy Barfield has worked with commercial food manufacturers and primary produces to cut the amount of food waste generated by the sector.
While the focus on finding and selling high quality surplus food on the Yume platform has been hugely successful - to date it has prevented close to three million kilograms of food from going to waste while returning more than $8 million to Australian businesses - there has been an ongoing issue of food not sold still going to waste.
“We saw this as an opportunity to improve the food donation initiatives already happening within large scale food producers,” Barfield said.
With a $165,000 Victorian Government grant through the Recycling Victoria Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) in FY21 to expand the platform to enable food suppliers to seamlessly donate surplus food to food rescue organisations, the role technology could play for the social enterprise was recognised.
Yume was part of the Victorian Government’s start-up agency Launch Vic’s CivVic Labs Program, which works with companies to utilise technology more effectively. The Atlassian Foundation volunteered time to work on the project.
LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said they were keen to see Yume take the next step in its journey.
“The capital they have secured will help them refine their product offer and propel their long-term growth,” Cornick said.
Unilever, Mars Food, and General Mills partnered with Yume to pilot the program. Unilever Food Solutions managing director Australasia Yezdi Daruwalla said: “Partnering with Yume means we have an efficient and streamlined process to donate surplus products to those in need. Since 2018, we've prevented 40,000 kilograms of surplus food from going to waste - this is equivalent to 79,526 kilograms of CO2 prevented from being released into the atmosphere, and 7.7m litres of water from going to waste.
“Now with Yume’s updated platform the process is even more straightforward and just this month we sent hundreds of cartons of tea to Foodbank Victoria, with the simple click of a button,” Daruwalla said.