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5 entrepreneurs who are future-proofing the global food waste problem

5 entrepreneurs who are future-proofing the global food waste problem
From Mashable - February 5, 2018

Most people know that global hunger is a pressing issuebut what you may not know is that food waste is equally concerning.

This does not seem to make sense: How is it that so many go hungry if there's so much usable food heading to landfills? If you think the issue of food waste is counterintuitive, you are not alone. The UN's Sustainable Development Goals outline a series of objectives to tackle global problems including hunger and food waste, among others.

There are a number of entrepreneurs who recognize that food waste is an unacceptable problem in our modern worldand they are doing their part to bring the UN's SDGs like zero hunger, sustainable agriculture practices, and sustainable consumption and production to fruition. Below are five individuals who are making a serious impact on every level of the food waste chainfrom farming and agriculture to supermarkets and retail, all the way down to the individual consumer.

Tristram Stuart, founder of Feedback

Campaigning to improve every link of the "food waste" chain.

When Tristram Stuart was just a teenager, he noticed a problem that many of us have likely observed at one point or another: Supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and grocers throwing away bins full of perfectly usable food.

"We were wasting food at every link in the entire chain," Stuart says in a video detailing his philosophy behind Feedback, the company he started in 2009 to address the problem of food waste. Feedback organizes action and awareness campaigns (as well as events) that target food waste fromliterallythe ground up. From working with governments and international institutions to educating businesses and rallying grassroots organizations and the public, the group aims to be a catalyst for changing global attitudes about food waste.

Stuart has dedicated his career to the issue; while researching for his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, he realized how many of the food waste issues facing supermarkets are tied up in buying policies and cosmetic standardsand sometimes, even stemming from obscure governmental regulations. He founded Feedback to fight these policies on a systemic level.

Feedback's first awareness event took place in London's Trafalgar Square in December 2009 and fed 5,000 peopleand the resulting media coverage was a catalyst for the UK government to change some of its policies about food waste. Today, Feedback has hosted similar events in 45 cities, and has had significant global impact on the way the world views waste.

Tristram Stuart is part of the UBS Global Visionary program. Read more about his story and learn about other young entrepreneurs making an impact around the world.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, founder of ColdHubs

Mitigating post-harvest losses for farmers in developing nations.

In Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, more than 35 million tons of fruits and veggies are produced each year. Yet, according to startup ColdHubs, 45% of this food spoils due to inadequate storage methods. And beyond this region of the world, post-harvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables affect 470 million farmers and retailers in other developing nations. The bottom line: Small farmers may lose as much as 25% of their annual income due to spoilage.

Enter Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, a Nigerian agriculturist. His startup is a social venture that produces modular, walk-in cold rooms that extend the shelf life of perishable foodsand not just by hours or days, but by weeks. The rooms are fueled by solar panels and high-capacity batteries, making them an eco-conscious solution for portable refrigeration.

The company designs, assembles, installs, and commissions these rooms, which farmers purchase on a pay-as-you-store subscription model. Ikegwuonuu has long-term goals for ColdHubs: He plans to have 1,000 units operating in the next five years.

Tessa Cook, founder of OLIO

Addressing food waste on the consumer level.

While food waste on a mass scale often occurs on the front lines of consumerism (places like grocery stores and supermarkets) or on an agricultural level, in the developed world, almost half of all food waste takes place in the home. Entrepreneur Tessa Cook wanted to do something to cut down the 13 billion worth of food that the UK collectively throws out each year.

"It's crazy that our solution to too much good food is to throw it away, and that there's been no innovation since the rubbish bin," says Cook.

To combat this issue, Cook and co-founder Saasha Celestial-One started OLIO, a free app that connects neighbors with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be repurposed. The app (available for both Android and iPhone) is simple to use: Just snap a photo of items you wish to discard, and neighbors receive alerts and can request whatever piques their interest. Pickup is arranged via private message.

There are multiple use cases for the app, Cook explains: Like when families go on a diet, move home, leave for vacation, over-cater a party, or receive unwanted gifts. (Finally, something to do with all those holiday fruit cakes.)

Amanda Weeks, cofounder of Industrial/Organic

Keiran Whitaker, founder of Entocycle

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