A matchmaking app that allows suppliers to buy and sell food that would otherwise be dumped has been developed by Asda.
Created to address the challenge of food waste in the supply chain, Asda Surplus Swap connects suppliers of unwanted food like leftover ingredients, finished produce or vegetable trimmings, with other suppliers who could make use of it.
Instead of throwing away surplus produce, app users can upload images in a marketplace-style platform, and any other interested supplier can connect and arrange the purchase and exchange.
It doesn’t matter who the produce was grown for, it can be bought and sold on the app.
Asda’s subsidiary business, IPL, was the first supplier to sign up to the new app during an official launch recently and is already offering plums, peaches and apricots to other suppliers.
Water Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates 45% of food waste in the UK comes from the supply chain, while 8.4 million families in Britain are struggling to put food on the table.
Asda vice president of corporate affairs, Charlotte Cool, says the industry app gives suppliers the chance to distribute excess food that would otherwise be dumped.
“We know our customers and suppliers care about food waste, and so do we, which is why we have committed to doubling our food redistribution by 2020,” she says.
“But there is a huge amount of work that needs to be done in addressing this challenge so we refuse to be complacent – our aim is to have an end to end approach to food waste and we will continue to find new ways to combat the issue to ensure we reach our target.”
Surplus Swap is receiving positive feedback from suppliers and industry.
“The app is a great idea because it will allow purchasers to locate out-graded fresh produce and ingredients from the supply chain that could still be utilised for food and drink production. A major benefit will be having the availability of produce information in one central place, rather than the daily need to communicate with different sites,” says Ivor Lyons, director at Jumpin’ Juice, a wholesale provider of fresh produce for juicing and smoothies.
“We all know there is a percentage of excess produce and ingredients in the supply chain so it’s our environmental duty to make best use of it.”
Head of Food Sustainability, at WRAP, Dr. David Moon welcomes Asda’s ‘innovative’ app and praises the retailer and other supermarkets for making ‘big strides’ in redistributing their own surplus food.
Surplus Swap is part of the retailer’s sustainability strategy and follows last year’s extension of the annual Sustain and Save Exchange (SSE) Conference which brings together suppliers to discuss challenges of the year ahead and celebrate success stories.
Owned by Walmart, Asda is signed up to its parent company’s target of providing products that sustain people and the planet, and is on track to meet Walmart’s Sustainability 2025 targets, which include zero waste to landfill by 2025, restoring forests by 2025 and working towards 100% renewable energy.