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An innovative solution to tackle food waste through the collaborative power of ICT networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SavingFood (An innovative solution to tackle food waste through the collaborative power of ICT networks)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-04-30

Food waste has received global attention as a major sustainability challenge, with significant implications for the economy, society and the environment. At the same time, it represents a global paradox: whilst a large amount of the food produced each year is wasted, there are huge numbers of people suffering from hunger.

SavingFood offers a novel approach to tackle food waste, by turning this environmental issue into an innovative solution to reduce food waste and fight hunger through the redistribution of surplus food to welfare organisations that support people in need. Moving forward from existing food redistribution channels, SavingFood seeks to create a social movement for reducing food waste, by engaging all actors of the food waste cycle to become part of the solution. The innovative food redistribution operational model is based on an online networked community of actors from various environments: citizens, farmers, big food companies, small retail shops, civil society organisations, social activists etc., that are strongly encouraged and motivated to take collective action, either through directly helping to save surplus food or participating in grassroots campaigning to tackle the root cause of food waste.

SavingFood offers an innovative solution to food waste, by engaging all stakeholders at all levels. It brings together the food waste community and the technical and scientific community in a mutually beneficial context to provide a complete, sustainable and flexible platform where all participants – food donors, beneficiaries, policy-makers and society at large – can engage, discuss and deliver within a pro-social environment in which everyone’s needs are met, information is shared and food is effectively distributed.

Leveraging on the collaborative power of social networks, on crowdsourcing applications and open data sources SavingFood fosters the creation and sharing of knowledge that can activate the collective intelligence of people and lead to highly cooperative behaviours and enhanced lifestyles.

Objective 1: To develop a bottom up solution for reducing food waste and fighting hunger by harnessing the collaborative powers of ICT networks.

Objective 2: To go beyond food redistribution to improve awareness and engagement across multiple stakeholders.

Objective 3: To create a novel and more effective operational model for food redistribution that will dramatically increase current levels of engagement.

Objective 4: To drive and sustain behaviour change towards food waste reduction on personal and collective levels.

Objective 5: To gain a better understanding on the processes of collective awareness, collective intelligence and online behaviours and networks

Objective 6: To enable adoption of SavingFood so as to offer a Europe-wide social innovation solution towards food waste.
During the first period of the project, the first set of motivational and training material to raise awareness about food waste in Europe and beyond were released. In specific, a food waste calculator was produced to help food businesses understand the amount of food they waste during their normal procedures. The underlying rationale for creating and integrating a cost calculation tool in the platform and the project’s website is that potential food donors would be more inclined to take action towards reducing food waste once they realise how much this is costing their business, as well as the environment. Even for those actors who would be anyway willing to do so, the tool allows them to take an informed decision. The tool is available here: Moreover, a first set of 5 videos has been released to facilitate the awareness raising campaign against food waste and help SavingFood users to understand how to use the platform, after its release. The first set of videos consists of two generic videos, which seek to raise public awareness -among adults and children respectively- about the food waste problem and three platform-specific explainer videos aiming to engage various user groups in food saving and redistribution activities through the SavingFood platform. What is more, some posters, leaflets and other dissemination material along with the newsletters are published on the Project website and are available for the wide public. During this first year, SavingFood partners have done all the preparatory work to welcome the CAPS platform, including the large scale behavioural change survey in the 4 pilot Countries.
4 main impacts in 4 pilot countries:

SavingFood aims at:

-fostering large scale collaboration between food donors and recipient organisations based on knowledge sharing.

-making gleaning activities more efficient and scalable.

-raising awareness and engaging citizens to become part of the suggested food waste solution.

-providing motivation and driving changes in lifestyles.

4 pilot Countries: Greece, Hungary, UK & Belgium

Social impact:

SavingFood facilitates the donations of surplus food to welfare organisations that support people in need, contributing thus to more equitable and sustainable living conditions. Additionally it empowers citizens to take collective action and become part of the food waste solution. SavingFood recognizes that empowerment and community participation are central to mobilizing the creativity and synergies of people in their communities. Therefore it leverages the network effects and the replication power of social networks and creates strong neighborhood ties, cultivates the feeling of belonging to a community of action, enhances social interactions, fosters grassroot process and contributes towards the development of a more sustainable society.

Economic impact:

Through SavingFood organisations and farmers with surplus food or crops are able to effectively donate it to welfare organisations that help people in need. At the same time this process brings a significant financial benefit for them since through donations they can avoid operational costs that have to do with waste management activities. Additionally, food donations are an effective way to promote an organization and enhance its reputation and visibility. SavingFood2.0 offers this opportunity to potential donors and rewards them with a real SavingFood label that can be used for marketing purposes. In this way potential donors can gain a competitive advantage, attract new customers and improve customer satisfaction by adopting a socially responsible attitude towards food waste and hunger. Apart from donors, the project is expected to have an important financial impact for food redistribution organisations. Organizations such as food banks that currently operate on the traditional warehouse model have high operational costs. By adopting the SavingFood model they can significantly reduce costs related to storing and transportation and at the same time become more effective and efficient. Finally a very positive financial impact can be seen for the recipient of the donations. For instance food donations to an immigrant shelter can support the financial situation of the organization in the sense that the money saved from buying food can be used for covering other operational needs.

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SavingFood platform