Varadkar launches new FoodCloud partnership

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Leading Irish social enterprises join forces to distribute 14,000 tonnes of surplus food, accelerating Ireland’s efforts to address food waste

FoodCloud, the internationally acclaimed Irish social enterprise that pioneered the distribution of leading retailer’s surplus food to local charities, is joining forces with Bia Food Initiative, the very successful operator of three large-scale food redistribution depots across Ireland which matches surplus food from food manufacturers and distributors to charities.

Bia Food Initiative is now known as FoodCloud Hubs. Working together with FoodCloud they will now offer a solution for surplus food at every step of the supply chain.

The announcement was made at the launch of FoodCloud Hubs, Dublin and was officially opened by Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, TD.

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This ground breaking solution will see 14,000 tonnes of food being saved from going to waste in Ireland and the UK in 2017.

Working together, FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs will offer businesses an integrated, ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to help them to process the estimated 400,000 tonnes of organic waste that is generated every year by the industrial food producing sector in Ireland. Much of this food is not waste, but high quality-food that is wasted, due to order cancellations, mistakes in packing and other factors.

Providing innovative industry standard solutions for surplus food and ensuring that good food does not needlessly go to waste is driving Ireland into a leadership position internationally.

Working with their extensive network of partners across the food, retail and charity sectors, FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs have to date rescued 3,320 tonnes of food, the equivalent of 7.3 million meals, and redistributed it to charities across Ireland and the UK.

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Using food to support the work of charities, has enabled the charity sector to make significant cost savings allowing them to redirect precious resources towards providing life-changing support to communities.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Varadkar said: ‘Robert Kennedy famously said some see the world as it is and ask ‘why’. Others see the world as it might be and ask ‘why not’. This is a great example of that philosophy in action. FoodCloud Hubs is possible because a network of businesses across Ireland made a decision to come together and ensure that good food is put to good use, rather than going to waste. In so doing, they are making a big difference to society.’

Aoibheann O’Brien, a founder of FoodCloud and CEO of FoodCloud Hubs said “Ireland is a nation with a rich heritage in food and agriculture and is emerging as a global leader in sustainable food production. Reducing the amount of food we waste needs to be the first priority in ensuring a sustainable food supply chain. FoodCloud Hubs and FoodCloud joining forces will drive Ireland into a leadership position globally in providing solutions for surplus food and reflects the culmination of a vision to ensure that no good food goes to waste both in Ireland and internationally.”

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FoodCloud

FoodCloud will continue to connect retailers with surplus food directly to local charities in the UK and Ireland through a unique software platform. Using the platform, staff in a store can upload details of their surplus food and local charities linked to the store through the FoodCloud system receive a text message to notify them of the availability of the surplus food. The charity then collects the food and redistributes it to people who need it.

FoodCloud Hubs

The newly rebranded FoodCloud Hubs rescues, stores and redistributes large volumes and a diverse range of surplus food from farms, manufacturers, and distributors, to the charities across Ireland in manageable quantities. There are currently three FoodCloud Hubs nationally in Cork, Galway, and Dublin, totaling 30,000 square foot of storage space.

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Food Producer Partners

One of FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs partners is Irish company Glenisk, who produce high quality, organic yogurt products in Ireland. Vincent Cleary, Managing Director, is delighted to be involved and welcomed the news of the partnership,

“ Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, but no matter how efficient your operations are there will always be some inevitable waste. FoodCloud Hubs provides a business friendly solution and has been a huge success for us. We have seen reductions in waste disposal costs, improved environmental performance and have had the opportunity to make a meaningful and practical contribution to communities in Ireland.”

At the launch event, refreshments made from surplus food were prepared and catered by KARE Social Services, a Dublin-based charity that benefits from surplus food from FoodCloud and FoodCloud Hubs. There were also musical performances from High Hopes Choir and Finglas Youth Resource Centre, both are partner charities of the organisations.