Food waste. The phrase should be enough to send a shiver down your spine, as it is a huge issue of humanities own creation. We know that if the emissions of food waste were a country, then it would be the 3rd highest emitter of harmful greenhouse gases in the world. With the world warming and our climate changing at a rate that is faster than natural, it is on us as a generation to make changes to our systems to prevent lasting damage to our planet.
But, this creates the quandary for businesses of how to act sustainably or do I make a profit, this quandary is especially apparent for grocery retailers where margins are often tight, and sustainability is seen as an afterthought or a box to tick. This is where Whywaste come in. Whywaste is a Swedish SaaS start-up which makes it profitable for grocery retailers to reduce food waste.
In grocery retail there are many pain points that are drivers for food waste, whether it is inefficient or ineffective methods of tracking the expiration dates of products on the shelves, inadequate data which leads to over-ordering or blind price reductions which do not present the optimal retained revenue for the retailer. These factors and more have been built into traditional bricks and motor grocery retail for many years, and as a result these ingrained practices result in huge amounts of food waste from the industry.
The pain points above are exactly the issues that Whywaste are tackling in stores around the world today. On the market, and being used in over 35 retail chains globally, Whywaste have four solutions designed specifically to help the retailers improve the efficiency of their processes, help prevent food and financial losses and engage their consumers. These solutions are:
- Semafor – End-to-end Digital Date Checking
A prompted date code checking application, which can be extended to include dynamic pricing and a marketing engine; allowing retailers to mark down products to an optimal price and push the product on to in-store screens and consumer facing applications.
- Aspekt – BI tool for store and chain managers
Powerful business intelligent tool which collects data from the date checking application such as which products are out-of-stock due to sales or wastage. This data is then presented to management thus allowing for informed procurement decisions to be made.
- Semafor Deli – A process management tool for Deli and Open Food
Removes the need for passed down knowledge and pens and paper on deli counters. Semafor Deli is a turnkey solution for efficient process management and stock control on the open food departments.
- Schema – Ordering and Scheduling tool for in-store produced items
A powerful machine learning tool that accurately advises on how much of a particular product to make or bake-off on a specific day. This allows for drastically reduced over production and that produce ending as food waste.
Founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2015, by Kristoffer Hagstedt, Sebastian Höglin Thordén and Martin Grådal, Whywaste’s journey over the intervening 6 years has been one of a steady rise. Growing our customer base across both the home market in Sweden and internationally as well as iterating and developing our product offering and arguably most importantly our fantastic team Whywaste is now incredibly proud to be helping, educating, and changing the mindsets of traditional retailing to highlight how sustainability is no longer an opportunity cost against financial gain.
A challenge however that Whywaste have faced is to grow and enter non-traditional markets where traditionally sustainable retail is not yet on the agenda. How to approach these markets and having knowledge on what works when trying to present a sustainably focused service are areas in which Whywaste are developing and seeking out external help. This is what was the main driver for applying to join the 2021 cohort of EIT FAN in Helsinki, and so far, the experience, especially the conversations had with our mentor, have been very helpful.
Whywaste would encourage any start-up involved in the food sector to consider applying to EIT FAN in the future as the acceleration, networking and mentoring is first class and can really help your business develop. We are looking forward to the next steps of the programme and potentially becoming an alumni and help other start-ups on the journey.
Written by Ben Holden, International Sales and Marketing Manager at Whywaste.