Irish food sustainability start-up lands top EU award

FoodCloud, an innovative Irish food waste company, has won a prestigious European award for being a leading green start-up.

Mairead McGuinness, MEP and Vice President of the European Parliament, has offered her congratulations for the company – previously earmarked for success by iconic publication Time magazine.

FoodCloud tackles food waste through an app that connects supermarkets, restaurants and hotels with charities – this ensures that leftover food can go to those who need it, instead of going to waste.

McGuinness – who had nominated the company for the award – said the company is a very worthy winner, adding: “FoodCloud is a great example of how we can use technology to combat the appalling level of food waste.

This kind of innovation will power Europe towards achieving its circular economy goals. It’s my hope and expectation that their success will inspire many others.

McGuinness highlighted that in Ireland, an “unacceptably high” one in eight people, experience food poverty; while, one million tonnes of food is thrown out by Irish consumers and businesses every year.

Around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU.

On a global scale, about a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – equating to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation

“These are truly shocking figures. They are an indictment of everyone who is in a position to do something about it but fails to act,” the MEP said.

“In that regard, the EU and member states have committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, including a target to halve food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030,” McGuinness concluded.

About Foodcloud

FoodCloud was represented at the award ceremony in the European Parliament in Brussels by its CEO Emma Walsh from Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. The company has centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

This is not the first major recognition for the Irish start-up. In 2014, Time magazine did a profile on one of FoodCloud’s co-founders, Iseult Ward, in its ‘Next Generation Leaders’ series. This feat is all the more impressive considering the company was only launched in October 2013.

By using the FoodCloud app a business can upload details of their surplus food and the time period in which the food can be collected. A text message is sent automatically to charities in the community and the first charity to accept the offer collects it directly from the business.

‘Surplus food’ is food that is perfectly fit for human consumption but cannot be sold for a variety of reasons (e.g. fresh produce that will not be sold the next day, short-dated product, slightly damaged packaging or mistakes in ordering).