It all started when...
My little sister gave me a call one night. It was late, she was catering at a private event in downtown Toronto. I was still tied up at the office.
Paula was a chef and she sounded pretty upset. She had just thrown out $4,000 worth of food and needed to vent. Originally, I started laughing, as a big brother would.
'Paula, why the hell would you throw out that much food?'. She said she had to. Her boss didn't give her any choice. That my friends, is when I started to read!
Having a background in finance and consulting, I knew there might just be a business here around this whole surplus food thing. But i wasn't really inspired until I came across this National Geographics article (March, 2016).
Listen to this, when food gets thrown out, it usually ends up in a landfill, gets covered by other garbage and rots. When this happens, the food doesn't have oxygen and the decomposition process produces methane gas. The statistic that changed our lives was:
'If International food waste were a country, it would be the third leading cause to GHG emissions behind the US & China'.
I spent the next few months speaking with hundreds of grocery store employees. I became obsessed. I learned that the average grocery store is throwing out perfectly good food anywhere from 3 days to months prior to the best before date.
A few nights passed and I was sitting in my condo in downtown Toronto. At the time, there was a grocery store in my building. I thought to myself
'if the grocery store would just upload a picture of the food they were going to throw out that day, marked the price down and send out a notification; then gave me a chance to see the deal through my phone, pay through my phone and pick the food up that day - I'd shop this way all the time'.
From that point on, we assembled an A team with backgrounds in management consulting, investment banking and a successful tech exit. Then we jumped off the map and have been rogue the last 12 months building what Flashfood is today - the conscious way of grocery shopping.
Our biggest accomplishment to date is that we've already diverted over 1,500 meals from landfill and into the bellies of hungry people. Roughly the equivalent GHG emissions of driving 1,800 km in a car.
Of course, we want to find a way to solve this problem full circle to provide everyone who deals with food insecurity the ability to have healthy food. We're getting there, although we haven't found the perfect solution yet.
Our community is proving with their buying power that we're not okay with current status quo in regards to food waste. We couldn't be any more grateful for what our community has provided us and will hopefully continue to provide us with the opportunity to do.
The beginning is beautiful,
Josh & The Flashfood Team