• Waste management company Suez has taken a 20 per cent equity stake in social enterprise. Pictured: Suez CEO Mark Venhoek & Yume CEO Katy Barfield.
    Waste management company Suez has taken a 20 per cent equity stake in social enterprise. Pictured: Suez CEO Mark Venhoek & Yume CEO Katy Barfield.
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Every year in Australia 4.1 million tonnes of edible food is wasted, and more than half of that comes from the commercial food sector. B2B marketplace Yume and waste management company Suez have partnered to do something to do about it. Doris Prodanovic writes.

When discussing sustainability, the question of how material waste reaches its end of life is often front of mind. But what about the waste of the product inside of the packaging material – in this case, food? 

Food waste is often identified as large amounts of unused, left over or discarded edible food. 

Rabobank’s 2019 Food Waste Report said Australia’s annual food waste spend grew in 2019 to $10.1 billion, up 13 per cent from the year before. It found 31 per cent came from primary production and manufacturing  accounted for 25 per cent.   

Yume is an Australian B2B marketplace combating food waste in the commercial food sector. It is one of only two companies in the world tackling food waste in the commercial sector. 

Yume founder Katy Barfield told Food & Drink Business: “There is very little reason for edible food to be going into landfill and legislative action needs to be taken to combat food waste.” 

Yume has 2500 registered buyers and 250 suppliers, including Kellogg’s, Unilever Food Services, Parmalat, Huon Salmon and Allied Pinnacle. 

Since it began five years ago, Yume has sold 1,350,000 kilograms of surplus food and returned around $5 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers. 

Change partnership

In December, Yume announced a partnership with waste management company Suez, to take the initiative even further.

“We identified Suez as being a leader in the field, and we found the team to be very genuine and authentic,” Barfield says. 

“Suez is at the front line – they see how much is being disposed. Part of the reason we are working with them is to speak to those companies before it gets to the disposal stage.”

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