OpenIDEO started the research phase this summer by calling the global community to action through sharing stories, reflections, interviews, and findings related to food waste. During the feedback phase, the OpenIDEO team dug deeper into posted ideas with comments and insights to encourage idea development, and selected the 40 ideas that moved on to the refinement phase in order to select the 'Top Ideas'.
The challenge focuses on generating ideas that:
On 16th October 2016, World Food Day, the feedback on the final ideas is released. Below, we have collected the ideas that have, so far, gotten the most traction in terms of feedback and thumbs up from the OpenIDEO community.
1. Two circular economy initiatives at producers level: brewing beer from bread, and baking bread from beer
The following ideas are implemented in the so-called “Processing and packaging, during industrial or domestic processing/packaging” phase and clearly demonstrate how value chain collaboration is key to developing the food waste solutions.
Bread from beer brewing by-product: RISE
RISE bakes bread from brewers’ spent grain, the main byproduct of the brewing process, which is currently disposed at the landfill or used as livestock feed. Next to bread, other solutions are looked for in the food industry such as pasta makers and baked goods, and in the pet food industry. RISE is initially targeting the beer industry and food industry in New York City with more than 40 breweries, and a total spending between $576K to $1.9M on a yearly basis.
The RISE concept is a circular economy approach aiming to recycle waste from industrial processes that traditionally went to landfills, incinerators, or treatment plants, and otherwise would have a negative impact on the environment and companies' bottom lines. From the circular economy perspective, waste from one industrial process serves as raw materials for another, helping to protect the environment, lower manufacturing costs and generating income from byproducts at the same time.
A great crossover from the challenge is that RISE has connected to Toast Ale with one of its partner brewers to help them launch their first brew in America.
2. Three initiatives addressing consumers to tackle expiration date issues: Xpire.org, Expire and Shelf Life
The ideas refer to fighting food waste in the phase referred to by the WRI as “Distribution and market, during distribution to markets including wholesale and retail”. For consumers implementing these food waste minimizing activities would appeal to different levels of value. The customer value of these interventions both functional needs such as saving money, simplifying life and organizing routine tasks, and emotional needs such as rewarding good behavior in the value pyramid.
Expired products represents a major source of food waste, often as the result of consumer confusion. The primary idea of Xpire.org involves using two dates, a 'soft, best-before date’, and a 'hard, consume-by’, which would enable consumers in making better informed decisions before discarding foods. The key element of Xpire.org is developing an ecosystem that allows consumers and retail stores to differentiate their behavior once the soft date is crossed. With dual dates, shoppers would not hesitate picking up products close to the soft expiry date at stores and consumers would feel comfortable consuming products close to the soft-expiry date. Retailers do not have to scramble to sell their products just before the expiration date with the soft date allowing them to keep it on the shelves for a longer time, as keeping it beyond the date, they would not fall foul of regulatory norms (if applicable). Once beyond the soft date products would not have to thrown away, but can be sold at lower prices, hence reducing waste, and possibly improving revenues for the retailer or donated (online) both by the consumer and retailer.
Inspired to jumpstart food waste innovations at your company?
Is your company working on sustainability and trying to advance its business model towards the circular economy? Send an e-mail to Josée van der Hoek today via firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Finch & Beak can help you solve your challenge fighting food waste.
OpenIDEO is a global design company that creates positive impact through design and is the initiator of OpenIDEO. OpenIDEO is a global community working together to design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges partner with leading organizations to drive collaboration, innovation and impact around the world's toughest problems. One of the ways it operates is by launching challenges, which usually consist of a three to five month collaborative process that focuses attention on a specific issue and creates a space for community members to contribute, refine and prototype solutions. In the Food Waste Challenge OpenIDEO has partnered with The Rockefeller Foundation, ReFED, The Fink Family Foundation, and The San Francisco Department of the Environment for the Food Waste Challenge. Additionally, Closed Loop Foundation will offer $25,000 to one or more qualifying Top Ideas.
Image source: IDEO, Flickr