It has been reported that about 1.3 billion tonnes of food valued at RM4.4tril is lost or wasted yearly on a global basis.
And unfortunately Malaysia is one of the highest contributors to this drastic number.
Research done by Solid Waste Corporation Management (SWCorp) showed that every year, an average Malaysian household throws away more than a month’s worth of salary on food they don’t eat.
Not only does the food wastage affect Malaysians’ daily expenditure but the amount of food thrown away is enough to feed millions of mouths daily.
The research also showed that a household with five people generally spends about RM900 on food alone per month. Malaysians generated 38,000 tonnes of solid waste daily in 2016, 15,000 tonnes of which was food waste.
To put it into better perspective, 15,000 tonnes of food waste can feed about 11 million people with three meals a day. Imagine the sheer number of wastage that is.
So to help tackle this issue, four young teenagers hailing all the way from East Malaysia designed the country’s first ever food surplus app in an effort to stop food wastage.
The Modern Robin Hood
How the app came to be was through Sime Darby’s Young Innovators Challenge 2016 where 200 participants aged 13 to 16 had to tackle the challenge of overcoming the global issue of poverty.
This team of young teenagers decided to combine this challenge with the food wastage problem and kill two birds with one stone through the creation of their app called Robin Food.
Essentially, what the app does is it connects supermarkets that have surplus food to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charitable organisations where they will then distribute the food over to urban poor families and the homeless.
Robin Food also enables corporations and hotels to contribute any excess food to this underprivileged community through food banks. Individual contributions can also be made directly to these food banks should there be any who’d like to do so. How it works is that the contributors will need to inform the food banks on the availability of excess food and arrange for collection within minutes.
This idea impressed the panel of judges so much that the team consisting of Allegra Chan Qin Hur, Ezra Adrian Robert, Ivan Avannus and Joseph Chung were awarded the winning title for the Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC) back in June of this year.
Now, Sime Darby have officially launched the app and it is available to be used from now on.
Taking From The Privileged To Give To The Poor
Robin Food’s main contributor will be Tesco Malaysia while Food Aid Foundation (FAF) will be in charge of organising the food distribution to the dedicated organisations and charities.
Sime Darby had even launched a week-long collection drive that saw employees donating 5,500kg and 200 litres of food. Items donated included essential goods such as cooking oil, rice, biscuits and canned food.
Sime Darby Chairman Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman mentioned how as a company ultimately owned by Malaysians, he felt obliged to contribute their part towards the nation building agenda.
“The country has identified innovation as a key enabler for economic growth and we do recognise the challenge faced by the public sector to educate our children,” said Abdul Ghani.
He added on that he believed the private sector has a lot to offer in human capital development and that Sime Darby is proud to support this noble initiative.
“Hopefully, the app will be able to minimise food wastage, so that food items can be channelled to the charitable organisations to feed the hungry and homeless,” shared Abdul Ghani.
During the launch, Abdul Ghani also handed over food items that were contributed by Sime Darby’s employees to representatives from FAF and Kechara Soup Kitchen Society.
Seeing the success of the SDYIC and how it achieved its target to expose youths in Malaysia to practical innovation skills through creative solutions, Sime Darby will now be embarking on the next SDYIC 2017 which will commence in January 2017.
It’s truly inspiring to see such young minds work together to come up with innovative methods on how to tackle social issues that continuously plague our community. Here’s to hoping to see more inspirational ideas such as Robin Food flourish more in the future.
Feature Image Credit: SD Young Innovator Challenge Facebook