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Meal matchmaker revolutionises food relief

5 December 2018 – More meals left over at the end of the day in quick serve restaurants, takeaways and cafes will soon be able to go to people in need thanks to a new collaboration between Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation, and an innovative new app called Y Waste.

It is estimated that at least 40 percent of food purchased by restaurants, cafes and other foodservice businesses around Australia ends up in the bin[1]. Launched in January this year, Y Waste enables the public to use their smart phones to find and buy discounted food that hasn’t been sold at the end of the trading day. The app already has over 500 registered outlets nationally – including Sumo Salad, Sushi Hub, Roll’d and Muffin Break – with more coming on board every day.

Soon after going live, many food merchants indicated that, as well as selling the meals at reduced prices, they wanted to offer some to people who need them in their communities for free. Y Waste approached Foodbank to help create a way for local charities to give people seeking food relief the means to access free meals via the app.

A trial in an inner Sydney suburb has proved that Y Waste is a great matchmaker for merchants who don’t want to throw good food away and people who might otherwise go hungry.

Speaking on the new partnership, Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey, said: “Accessing the short-life prepared food generated by cafes and quick serve restaurants has always been logistically challenging for the food rescue sector. Y Waste removes the barriers and enables the meals to go straight into the hands of people who need them.”

“Not only is the food fresh and high quality but there is plenty of variety giving food insecure people choice and dignity in obtaining the help they need to feed themselves and their families,” Brianna said.

The way in which people access meals via Y Waste is a totally new approach to the provision of food relief. With the help of a local Foodbank-registered charity, those in need sign up to the Y Waste app using a special code. They can then select their choice of the meals being offered on the app free of charge. They collect the meal from the food outlet at a certain time by showing their voucher on their smart phone just as any other user of Y Waste does.

According to the founder of Y Waste, Ian Price, the interest from food merchants keen to do the right thing has been overwhelming. “Ninety percent of the food outlets we’ve spoken to want to donate meals in their communities and the indication is that over half of all the meals being offered through Y Waste will end up with people who can’t afford to buy them.”

With over 80,000 food outlets in Australia there is potential for tens of thousands of meals to go to people experiencing food poverty each day. Y Waste will be progressively rolling out availability of the ‘Foodbank Meals’ around Australia during 2019.

About Y Waste

With its focus on food retail, Y Waste’s purpose is to reduce both food insecurity and the negative environmental and economic impacts of food waste. Its unique app and community-conscientious partners manages to do both.

Y Waste targets short-life food offered for donation from food retailers which food charities are unable to collect for various reasons. By linking food retailers with end recipients in the local community, its new food donation platform connects donators directly with end-recipients. Donating food is now no longer restricted by quantity, nature or geographical location.

[1] RMIT Watch My Waste https://watchmywaste.com.au/research/