One-line solution summary:
Whole Surplus provides digital surplus food management system prioritizing recovery solutions in line with the Food Recovery Hierarchy.
Pitch your solution.
Supported by UNDP to reach the SDGs, Whole Surplus creates technology connections between corporations to eliminate those technical and managerial barriers of waste management for food businesses. Placing technology at the heart of a crucial issue as food waste the platform creates a unique partner ecosystem where food businesses can manage any type of their surplus food, that is eligible for human consumption, animal feeding, recycling or landfilling from one place. Furthermore, the platform provides a data analytics dashboard to reduce waste at the source. With the help of the technology and network that is created, the aim is to reduce partners’ food waste-related carbon emission by 50% and to reach the zero-landfill goal.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
According to FAO, one-third of the food produced for human consumption in the world goes to waste because of the quality standards, overproduction and the lack of information about use-by and best before dates. 793 million people are malnourished in the world, while it is possible to feed those people with this amount. Furthermore, food waste contributes 8% of the total carbon emission.
In the retail sector, food waste is mainly caused by inefficient inventory management, logistics operations and high-quality requirements of the food sector. Despite recent attention to food waste and climate change in the world, many companies in the food sector do not want to invest in waste management departments, even they could decrease their financial loss. Because of establishing waste management departments also include investment in technology, staff, equipment and also it means extra workload and time committed to waste management. This lack of required managerial skills of the food waste management market causes companies great financial loss each year. Even though most of their surplus is appropriate for human consumption, they end up being landfilled. However, Whole Surplus can recover this financial loss while helping the environment and society with its software and operational excellence.
What is your solution?
Whole Surplus fills this management gap by removing the barriers of surplus management for food companies through digitalization. With its digital product called Surplus Management System (SMS), it offers holistic solutions to food surpluses in line with the Food Recovery Hierarchy and matches them with the right partner who offers the highest financial, environmental and social value. With SMS food businesses can manage all of their unsold, surplus inventories from one digital platform. The platform offers a 3-pillar upcycling process to clients. First is a secondary sales marketplace where companies can sell their surplus to other parties at discounted prices. Second is a donation module to create the biggest social value out of surplus and to get tax advantages as well. The third one is the recycling module (primarily animal feed and biogas production) to manage waste in an environmentally responsible way with guaranteed low cost and full traceability. The software also reduces waste at the source by using the SMS’ machine learning algorithm and the use of big data analyzing. High-level managers can use these reports to understand where and when surplus happens and forecast the demand better and make more efficient procurement decisions to reduce their monetary loss.
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
With the digital platform, in 3 years, more than 14.000 tonnes of food have been saved, 350.000 people in need got food donations, 30 million meals have been redistributed to the people in need, 48.000 tonnes of carbon emission has been prevented in 36 cities in Turkey. In sum, 94 million TL worth surplus food brought back to the economy.
Furthermore, the operations contribute mainly to four Sustainable Development Goals. The surplus that is safe for human consumption is donated to people in need, before best by date, through food banks and charities and this contributes to ‘Zero Hunger’ goal. Data analytics based on SKU, time, location and amount aims to provide insights to companies to help them make better production, procurement, and logistics decisions so that they can reduce waste at source and contribute to ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ goal. Data analytics module helps to stop waste before it can occur, saving all the natural resources embedded in food from going to waste as well. By ensuring sustainable food systems and circularity of food, Surplus Management System contributes to ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ goal. Finally, reduction in food waste and carbon emission helps to reach the ‘Climate Action’ goal.
Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections, and create low-carbon cold chains
Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.
According to FAO, food systems need to create positive impacts on economical social and environmental dimensions to be sustainable. Whole Surplus’ technology builds sustainable food systems by creating a circular multi-stakeholder ecosystem and tailor-made business models for food businesses. The digital system provides financial benefits to all of the partners by valuing their surplus with the best option. The food donation module matches the food with people in need and helps to reduce poverty. Lastly, all of the operations prevents foods from going to waste, reduce the carbon footprint and creates a positive environmental impact.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?İstanbul, Turkey
What is your solution’s stage of development?Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth
Who is the primary delegate for your solution?
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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new technology
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
Despite the existence of various companies in the international market, there is no other company provides holistic solutions in line with Food Recovery Hierarchy such as Whole Surplus does. Most of the competitors focus only on one layer of hierarchy or cannot provide analytics service and a unique partner ecosystem as Whole Surplus does.
One of the competitors Phenix offers a marketplace for surplus foods, but cannot provide data analytics for reduction at source. Therefore, they cannot provide insights from operations and reports to make better procurement and production decisions for a sustainable food system. Moreover, while Whole Surplus software decides which option is the best-fit for surplus food and matches it with the right partner in line with these calculations, Phenix’s software takes over the operations manually; it lacks a decision-making tool for the process of utilization and the best-fit partner.
Lastly, Too Good To Go provides a surplus marketplace to both people and food businesses to rescue unused food from local stores and supermarkets at cheap prices. However, food producers and distributors are not in their customer segments. Although Too Good to Go is present in many countries, the company is not offering holistic solutions because they only provide reselling option to edible foods at discounted prices. Therefore client food companies still need to make several partnerships to value their inedible surplus food. Likewise, the lack of a holistic waste management approach reduces the amount of food they rescue, therefore their environmental, social and financial impact is limited.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Whole Surplus is developing an algorithm that takes SKU according to time, location-based data, best by-date and nutritive values as inputs and calculates the financial, social and environmental impact of surplus to value it with best-fit solutions. Based on the outputs of the SMS algorithm, if the surplus is safe to eat, SMS relates the surplus with the food donation process. Moreover, it can also be sold to other companies at discounted prices. If SMS’s calculations show that it is not edible, SMS decides that it can be used in animal feed production. If SMS’ calculations show that nutritive values are not suitable for animal consumption but energy values are high then the surplus is used in biogas production. The biggest innovation of SMS is the collection of all operational data and analytics. Analytics dashboard identifies where food is wasted and catalyze action to reduce waste at source. With these analytics, the partners can make operational changes, better procurement, production and logistics planning and prevent waste before it occurs. All legal documents such as invoices and receipts are uploaded and e-archived on the platform to make tracking easier. Through the documentation process on our digital platform, companies are able to make required accounting records. The biggest benefit here is that Whole Surplus manages all types of surplus through one holistic platform. This gives the highest level data insight to reduce waste at source and reach 2030 goals as well as creating a great ecosystem for circular economy.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
What is your theory of change?
The current food systems are linear which means the system is designed with a mindset of take-make-waste. Right now, 793 million people are malnourished in the world and it is going worse. On the other hand, the linear systems also lead to lots of foods to be wasted and landfilled. This system causes a huge food security problem in the whole world and in the future, the system will fail to meet the longer-term needs of societies and ecosystems. Whole Surplus’ aim is to transform this system into a circular one by creating a multi-stakeholder ecosystem. Whole Surplus’ wide range of recycling and upcycling operations help food businesses to value their surplus food in line with the food recovery, with maximum social,environmental and financial benefits and best partner. In addition to that, by using machine-learning technologies Whole Surplus long term vision is to help companies to make operational changes, better procurement, production and logistics planning and prevent waste before it occurs. As a long-term outcome, the whole food system will transform from the linear system into a circular one where waste becomes the input to a new process. By 2050, Zero Hunger and Food Waste Cities will be created thanks to circular food systems.
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
Currently, Whole Surplus provides monthly food donations to 350.00 people in need in 36 cities of Turkey. In one year the company is expecting to reach more than 500.000/monthly people in need by expanding to Italy, Romania and Russia. In five years, by becoming the leading waste management company in the EMEA region they are expecting to reach 1.000.000/montly people in need.Currently, Whole Surplus provides monthly food donations to 350.00 people in need in 36 cities of Turkey. In one year the company is expecting to reach more than 500.000/monthly people in need by expanding to Italy, Romania and Russia. In five years, by becoming the leading waste management company in the EMEA region they are expecting to reach 1.000.000/montly people in need.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
Whole Surplus plans to expand its operations abroad within 2020. The expansions will help to digitalize ongoing surplus food management operations, reduce the workload and provide a transparent management systems in selected countries by helping the environment and society.
By 2050 Whole Surplus aims to create a multi-stake partner ecosystem in the EMEA region. To do that, Whole Surplus aims to work with global and sector-leading companies and manage their inventories through its digital platform. Currently, the feasibility and research studies are proceeding with those global partners in selected countries. The long-term vision is to shed a light to end waste and hunger by collecting a very large data set to be able to provide real-time insight on food surplus based on SKU, time, location and amount to better manage production, procurement and distribution decisions and allocate surplus in line with the Food Recovery Hierarchy.
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?
The regulations on food waste management were a huge barrier faced to establish a circular food system. Those regulations in Turkey were not encouraging companies to donate foods or manage their waste in an environmental way. There were not enough tax advantages for food donations and no regulations on recycling processes. Therefore, most of the food companies were landfilling their surplus food. This legal barrier also creates a barrier to convince those food companies that surplus management can recover their financial loss.
How do you plan to overcome these barriers?
To overcome those barriers, Whole Surplus closely works with the government and the Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock to improve the food banking system and waste management systems to reach zero waste/hunger in Turkey. Tax advantages of donations to food banks have been increased with their proposal to the government and proposed regulations to enable food donations and waste management. And they still work with the ministry to prepare 4 other regulations to enable food donations and waste management. Furthermore, the tailor-made business model helped to get the food business into the customer base. Free waste management service was offered to customers, in case the surplus management system couldn’t provide any financial benefits to them.
What type of organization is your solution team?For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
The team consists of 31 full-time members. There are 7 teams: customer development, operations, finance, technology, product development, project and partnership development. All of the team members have experience in sector-leading companies and graduated from the top universities in Turkey. Thus, there are seven people who used to work in Unilever. Therefore, the deep knowledge and connections in the FMCG make it easier to get more companies into the commercial funnel.
How many years have you worked on your solution?
Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
In order to be perfect, Whole Surplus needs to have a team of diversified portfolio owning experience B2B salesmen, engineers, software developers, etc. from regions of each country. The company’s holistic approach is also applied to the team. Team members have expertise in related fields which is important for surplus management. For instance, the team consists of supply chain master for logistics operations, category manager for resell operations, food engineers for food safety. Lastly, Whole Surplus has formed a non-profit organization called Food Recovery Association to manage donation operations and awareness companies in both public and government. The holistic approach in the team and shared vision makes them perfect to deliver the solution and to continue the operations on a global scale to create sustainable waste management systems that contribute to the circular economy.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
In total, Whole Surplus manages 32 company’s surplus food. They operate in 264 stores, 8 factories and 23 distribution centres in 36 cities of Turkey with sector-leading global companies like Migros, Metro CC, Nestle, Danone, Mondelez and so. Whole Surplus works with 20 municipality and 80 food banks for food donations operations to reach people in need. One of them is Turkish Red Crescent. The animal feed producing and biogas operations, proceed with 5 animal feed producers and 3 recycling centres.
What is your business model?
Whole Surplus’ business model is a mix of subscription & transaction model. In the donation module, companies are charged a monthly subscription fee as well as a success fee from their donations. In the resell module, the stocks of companies are bought and sold to other partners on the platform with a margin. On the animal feed module, the inedible surplus from the companies are bought and sold to animal feed producers. In the recycling module, recycling costs are reduced by making optimizations. However, food banks and charities can use the platform without any fee and get logistic and management support for free as well.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?Organizations (B2B)
Why are you applying to Solve?
The Solve MIT works with startups who have innovative tech-based solutions to solve great challenges that the world faces and who are ready to make a big impact on their industry and the world. As Whole Surplus who created a unique ecosystem and impact in Turkey by saving more than 14.000 tonnes of food, we want to scale our impact by starting our operations in Europe and the USA. Therefore, Solve’s personalized support will help us to reach our goals and increase our impact. Furthermore, we believe wide range of partners in the program will help us to overcome legal barriers of food waste management by raising awareness in the government and the public.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please explain in more detail here.
Since we aim to expand our operations abroad, we need partners to help us to proceed researches on food regulations in those countries and overcome legal barriers to start our operations. After that, we need partners for our product sales and distribution. We lack team members that know the local market dynamics of our expansion countries. When the operations will start, we need experienced team members. We are planning local recruitments in Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain with experienced team members in the food and technology sector to manage our expansion operations.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
We are seeking partnerships with organizations who have experience in the food sector and in our target markets. However, we are open to partner with all organization who share the vision to create sustainable circular food systems.