Yume, the B2B online marketplace for surplus food, has won a Banksia Award for its leadership in the food waste arena.
The not-for-profit Banksia Foundation has been working with Government, industry and community to focus attention on the recognition of excellence in sustainability for more than 30 years.
CEO Graz van Egmond said its advocacy now spans across the 17 pillars of sustainability and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Van Egmond said: “Our winners are all catalysts for positive, productive, possible acceleration for the change we need. Whether it be climate change, species extinction, need for waste reduction, or simply being kinder and fairer to each other.
“COVID-19 has taught us lessons that we cannot forget and has helped us look at how we can prevent further disasters from happening.”
Yume won the Small Business category and was recognised for its leadership, measured and monitored results, and strong industry partnerships.
Yume founder and CEO Katy Barfield said it was a great honour and a chance to shine the light on one of the biggest global challenges.
“This award helps to raise awareness of the solutions available for the commercial food industry waste in Australia.
“It is only through collaboration and a whole of industry and government approach that we will be able to transform our industry,” Barfield said.
Yume is one of only three companies globally using technology to offer an innovative market for surplus food. It has saved around 499 million litres of embodied water and prevented 8460 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released since it began.
Australia’s existing food supply system means that 7.3 million tonnes of food is discarded each year. Of that, 55 per cent occurs in the commercial food sector – at farms, food manufacturers and wholesalers – before it reaches supermarkets or homes.
“That’s the uncomfortable truth of food waste, the one no one talks about,” Barfield said.
It’s not just about food, she explained. “More than a quarter of the water used every year globally goes to grow the 1.3 trillion kilograms of food that no one will ever eat. Plus, when surplus food ends up in landfill, it creates gas that is 25 times more deadly than car exhaust fumes.
Our planet simply can’t absorb this anymore.”
Yume works closely with manufacturers and primary producers to understand their surplus food challenges and develop new and safe paths to market for their products via its B2B online marketplace.
The company already works with hundreds of leading food manufacturers, including Kellogg and Mondēlez and foodservice giants like Sodexo and Accor Hotels.
It has sold over 2.4 million kilograms of quality surplus food, returning $7.5 million to Australian primary producers and manufacturers.
Barfield said: “We’re urgently calling on all food manufacturers and primary producers to join Yume, so that we can help prevent this food, which takes time, money and valuable resources to grow, pick, pack and distribute, from going to waste.”
Barfield said any food manufacturer or primary producer that has surplus food to sell, or a food buyer – industrial caterer, hotel, pub chain or restaurant – looking for high quality produce at a significant discount in Australia can visit the Yume website and join.