The app that’s helping to solve the world’s food crisis
The idea behind FoodCloud began when I was a student in my third year of a business and economics degree at Trinity College, Dublin. I met my now business partner, Aoibheann O’Brien, at an event she hosted on food distribution.
It was then I discovered that 30% of food globally goes to waste each year, despite the fact that one in 10 people in Ireland alone are currently suffering from food poverty. I was shocked by the statistics. Meal times had always been a source of joy in my family and, yet, the modern food system raises so many moral questions.
Both Aoibheann and I felt passionately about finding a solution to the problem (starting off in Ireland, where we’re from) as there was no national solution at the time. Straightaway, we set about working on ideas. Was there a way for us to connect supermarkets and companies, who had leftovers, with local charities, who desperately needed them?
When we graduated a year-and-a-half later, we had a very basic concept, which we began to approach retailers with. I don’t think either of us necessarily believed it was going to become our full-time job, we viewed it as more of a passion project, while studying at university.
TIME FOR CHANGE
But we did spend months looking at international companies to see what others were doing to address the problem. There was lots of brainstorming involved and, eventually, we resolved that an app would be the easiest way to link supply with demand. Before developing any technology, though, we focused on building relationships with relevant charities and organisations. By the end of the year, Tesco had signed up for a trial with us.
Now, four years on, we can appreciate the impact FoodCloud has started to make, having worked with over 2,800 different charities. Since the beginning of this year, we’ve partnered with 70 companies per month.
The best part has been getting feedback from various communities. Last Christmas Eve, for example, we gave away turkeys in association with Tesco to people who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to enjoy a Christmas dinner.
Food wastage is a complex issue but we believe there are opportunities to develop our work internationally, so that we can deal with the problem on a global scale. As much as 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year – there’s simply no excuse for that.
FIND YOUR BALANCE
Iseult’s dos and don’ts on turning an idea into reality
Find a partner
Having someone you get on with is of great help.
After my exams ended, I was able to give FoodCloud my full attention.
Food poverty is what we feel strongly about.
One thing is to not fear failure.
Some of the initial feedback wasn’t great, and we were able to learn from that.
We take time out to celebrate with the team.