Press Release: Food donation with a click of a button - Yume’s Australian first technology
Some of the biggest names in Australian food manufacturing – Unilever, Mars Food and General Mills - are dramatically evolving the way they approach food donation, all with the help of Melbourne based social enterprise, Yume.
Founded in 2016 by award-winning food rescue veteran, Katy Barfield, Yume has spent the last five years working with commercial food manufactures and primary producers on solutions for preventing the astonishing amounts of food waste that is generated every year in the commercial sector. Australia currently discards 7.3 million tonnes of food each year with 55% of this occurring at a commercial level.
The Victorian Government has helped make this Australian first technology possible through $165,000 of funding from the Recycling Victoria Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre (CEBIC) in 2020/21 to expand the existing online platform to enable food suppliers to donate surplus to food rescue organisations seamlessly (such as Foodbank, FareShare, and SecondBite).
“Our focus, until now, has been uncovering and selling high quality surplus food on the Yume platform, which has prevented close to 3million kgs of food from going to waste while returning over $8million to Australian businesses to date,” said Yume CEO & Founder, Katy Barfield.
“Unfortunately, not everything on our online platform gets sold, which means great food is still going to waste. We saw this as an opportunity to improve the food donation initiatives already happening within large scale food producers and designed a one stop solution for these producers to have the option to sell or donate surplus food, all within the Yume online platform.”
As participants in the CivVic Labs Program, Yume worked alongside the Victorian Government’s startup agency, LaunchVic, on bringing the technology to life.
LaunchVic CEO, Dr Kate Cornick said, “LaunchVic’s CivVic Labs Accelerator program connects startups with government to create better technology solutions for Victorians and access to procurement opportunities for startups.”
“We are excited to see Yume take the next step in their startup journey, especially the important task of managing food waste. The capital they have secured will help them refine their product offer and propel their long-term growth – something LaunchVic is focused on ensuring right across all aspects of the Victorian startup sector.”
Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change, Hon Lily D'Ambrosio, also commended Yume’s mission to tackle food waste, “It’s more important than ever to minimise the amount of waste we produce – and this new initiative is an important step toward our goals to halve the amount of food and organic waste going to landfill by 2030, as well as an excellent example of how the Circular Economy Business Innovation Centre is supporting businesses."
Yume’s new donation tool will also have a positive impact on how suppliers on the platform and food rescue organisations work together to get high quality food to those who need it most. Unilever Food Solutions Managing Director Australasia, Yezdi Daruwalla, said, “As one of the world’s biggest food producers, it’s our ambition to protect and preserve food for everyone across our value chain – this means making sure no good food is destroyed. By partnering with Yume, we have an efficient and streamlined process to donate surplus products to those in need. Since 2018, we've prevented 40,000 kilograms of surplus food from going to waste - this is equivalent to 79,526 kilograms of CO2 prevented from being released into the atmosphere, and 7.7m litres of water from going to waste. Now with Yume’s updated platform the process is even more straightforward and just this month we sent hundreds of cartons of tea to Foodbank Victoria, with the simple click of a button.”
Built with support from the Atlassian Foundation, who generously volunteered time to work on the project, pilot partners Unilever and General Mills are already making use of the new tool in the Yume platform, which is encouraging new partners to join their efforts to end food waste.