Since 2013, FoodCloud has redistributed nearly 180 million meals across their two solutions in Ireland, the U.K. and parts of Europe, estimating it has kept more than 75,000 tons of food from going to waste and into landfills.
Tesco, the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain, decided to partner with FoodCloud in a pilot program with Tesco’s 146 stores in Ireland. The 2013 partnership was so successful, Tesco expanded it to its more than 3,000 stores in the U.K. The bulk of Tesco’s surplus food includes fresh fruit, vegetables and bakery products.
FoodCloud continued to refine its technology platform, Foodiverse, so that it was simple for both supermarkets and nonprofits to use, a huge plus for Tesco.
“Where they started from technology-wise to where they are now is light years apart,” says Lorraine Shiels, Tesco Ireland head of corporate social responsibility and internal communications. “They developed a solution that we saw could work and could integrate within our technology,” and it was something that any Tesco employee could easily use.
“Simplicity in retail, as in any business, is incredibly important for any sort of sustainability of process,” she says. “And the fact that the app they had developed was incredibly simple but achieved an end goal was really, really important to us.”
Foodiverse is hosted on Azure. Power BI also plays a key role in much of the internal reporting developed by FoodCloud. Now, the nonprofit is also incorporating Dynamics 365 Business Central to unlock other insights, including conducting stock counts and movements live on the floors of FoodCloud’s three hubs, and enabling prompts to highlight where there may be issues to resolve.
Dynamics 365 sped up FoodCloud’s processes significantly and so far has helped contribute to an 11% increase in surplus food redistribution, year over year
FoodCloud is fully integrated into Tesco’s technology systems in stores, Shiels says. “We can look to absolutely every item of food that we scan through in the evening to donate is trackable and traceable, so that we’re fully able to measure end-to-end our donations – the amount of meals that we donate, the kilos, broken down by store, the carbon footprint associated with it. There’s a great level of insight and reporting behind it from a business perspective.”
FoodCloud is also now working with Tesco in central Europe, including the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. It also has partnerships with other supermarket chains including Aldi, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Musgrave MarketPlace and Waitrose, and international food companies including Kellogg’s.
Kellogg’s began working with FoodCloud in Ireland in 2020, donating surplus breakfast cereals and breakfast bars. The company has a long history of donating food to families and to schools’ “breakfast clubs” in both Ireland and the U.K.
“We know our food is very popular amongst FoodCloud’s beneficiary organizations,” says Kate Prince, senior ESG (environmental, social and governance) manager for Kellogg Europe. “For many families, obviously it’s a very convenient and quick breakfast.”
And it doesn’t require heat to eat, which is becoming more and more important now. “Many people are struggling with rising energy costs, and so for those families, breakfast cereal is a good option,” she says.
Kellogg’s is also doing a “significant rethink” of how to “overcome the challenges facing today’s food system,” Nigel Hughes, Kellogg senior vice president of Global R&D and Innovation, wrote in a recent blog post. “We must move from a linear approach to a circular one that prioritizes regenerative production, reduces resource inputs and aims to ensure recovery for future uses and minimize wastage.”
In the U.K., FoodCloud works with FareShare, the national network for charitable food redistributors. FareShare sorts surplus food in regional warehouses, then distributes it through a network of over 9,000 nonprofits. FareShare has been working with FoodCloud since 2013 when they developed the Tesco back-of-store solution together.
“We have formed an incredibly impactful solution for the U.K. working together to redistribute food from across the retail, wholesale and food service industry,” says Li Brookman, head of FareShare Go, which provides charities and community groups with direct access to surplus food local supermarkets, wholesalers and restaurants.
Aidan McNamara says having FoodCloud’s technology app on his phone makes it easy for him to know when and what food will be on its way to Rosepark Independent Living in Dublin, where he is the manager. Sixteen residents, ranging in age from 64 to 95, live at the nonprofit facility.
McNamara is also the Sunday chef at Rosepark, where fresh meals are prepared daily, including three-course lunches.