Photo credit: Richard Donelan www.RichardDonelan.com
Christmas is well and truly over yet this evening, in Ireland, it started to snow. It’s now very cold outside and the snow is beginning to stick on the ground — a very rare occurrence in Dublin City! Thankfully the startup community of Dublin (well 110 of us anyway) were able to take shelter at Google EMEA HQ, in Dublin’s Docklands, to listen to a most inspiring interview with FoodCloud founder, Iseult Ward. Our host and interviewer for the evening was David Scanlon, Chapter Director of Startup Grind Dublin (Startup Grind is a globally run series of fireside chats with entrepreneurs).
FoodCloud is a social enterprise that works with partner retailers and charities to redistribute food, that would otherwise go to landfill, to instead go to those who may otherwise find it difficult to keep themselves fed. Typical examples of such food might include misshapen vegetables or other products that are slightly out of date but are still perfectly good to eat.
FoodCloud was founded by Iseult and her co-founder, Aoibheann O’Brien, in 2012. Inspired by the ‘food movement’ happening in the UK at that time. This movement was tackling a crazy situation whereby every year a huge volume of perfectly good food was being thrown out when so many people were concurrently struggling to feed themselves. Both founders thought it amazing that nothing was happening in Ireland in the area of food waste reduction at that time.
I’d first met Iseult in June 2015 and it was amazing to hear, this evening, how FoodCloud has grown to the point of now working with every Tesco in the UK to reduce food waste in that region. The growth in their scale has also been followed by the growth of their team which now stands at 46 strong. Iseult’s full interview with David Scanlon, this evening, can be viewed on the Startup Grind YouTube Channel. I’d definitely recommend you guys having a watch or a listen to that!
What inspires me most about the FoodCloud story to date is the focus of it’s founders on their goal of eliminating food waste. Like all businesses they have faced their fair share of challenges but it’s the way that they’ve remained so focussed on their mission that most struck a chord with me. It’s also amazing to think that they have built this business from scratch and that Iseult had only just graduated University when they decided to start up.
It’s also really exciting to think that they’ve managed to grow their business without having engineering backgrounds — clearly a massive testament to their leadership skills and ability to learn on the move.
It really was so great getting Iseult’s updates on their journey over the past two years and I can’t wait for the next 2 year update. I have every confidence that FoodCloud are going to continue to go from strength to strength and I wish them the absolute very best as they continue on their mission to rid the world of food waste!
If this ‘food movement’ idea is a subject that interests you then you may also enjoy reading ‘The Moneyless Man — A year of freeconomic living’ by Mark Boyle. Mark spent a year living ‘off grid’ in Bristol, UK, and wrote a book about his experiences. I must actually remember to ask Iseult if she knows the author as he also happens to be an Irishman and BESS, TCD, graduate…
What are your thougths on food waste? Would you eat a mishapen carrot, brown banana or slightly out of date yoghourt? Leaving food poverty aside shoudl we not all be doing more to reduce the amount of perfectly good food that seems to be ending up in landfill? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!