Leveraging technology to tackle food waste in Australia
Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) is tackling food waste by partnering with Yume, Australia’s first surplus food marketplace online.
The UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) set out a vision for ending poverty, hunger, inequality and protecting the earth’s natural resources by 2030. Given the scale and reach of our business, Unilever has the potential to contribute significantly to these goals and we are doing this through our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). However, it is only by working with others that we will be able to achieve the vision set out by the SDGs.
Unilever is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business. Tackling food waste is part of our journey towards being a zero-waste business and we have partnered with Yume, Australia’s first surplus food marketplace, to ensure that good food ends up on plates, not in the bin.
Yume is on a mission to create a world without waste. While food waste is synonymous with homes, restaurants and events, the commercial food sector is estimated to waste up to 4.1 million tonnes each year in Australia with less than 2% currently diverted to food rescue organisations.
The Yume platform is revolutionising the food industry by enabling, via technology, the sale of surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, both physically and financially. Yume is now responsible for diverting more than 820,000 kg of food from landfill and returning over $2.6 million back to Australian manufacturers and farmers. Through diversion, Yume has also saved 56.5 million litres of water and prevented 1,640 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released.
Since partnering with Yume, Unilever has saved 22,801 kg of surplus food via the platform. This equates to over 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide and 1.5 million litres of water.
kg of food saved.
Emma Dean, Customer Director Emerging Channels at Unilever Australia and New Zealand, explains the partnership, noting that “change and progress often requires collective action and it is in the interest of businesses to work together to find new solutions to shared problems. Partnering with new-to-market customers such as Yume is an exciting way to address surplus stock and ensure that we’re able to minimise food waste in a commercially viable way.”
Manufacturers and primary producers upload their quality surplus stock onto the Yume platform for buyers in the food service industry to purchase at a discount.
“It’s a win for everyone,” according to Yume Founder and CEO, Katy Barfield. “To encourage us all at an individual level to value food and appreciate the time, effort and cost it has taken to grow, package and transport it to our kitchens is one thing - to tackle this problem from a business and commercial perspective is quite another. Food is a precious resource. The opportunity for us to really make a difference here is huge.”
When one of UFS’ products was nearing its code date, it was uploaded onto the platform. Yume’s buyers were quick to secure the deal and to date over 10,652kg of the product has been sold via Yume. By selling the product on the Yume platform rather than disposing of it, Unilever has also saved over 21 tonnes of CO2 and over 700,000 litres of water.
This year, Yume and Unilever will continue their partnership to ensure that even more good food is eaten, rather than wasted. To find out more about how the partnership works, go to www.yumefood.com.au. You can also find out more about how we’re working with food waste charities to ensure good food is eaten, not wasted.