We’ve quoted this statistic before, but just to say it again: Malaysians waste 15,000 tonnes of food a day. Out of that wasted food, an estimated 3,000 tonnes of that is still edible. To put that into perspective, that’s the weight equivalent of 30 blue whales.
However, it’s clear that there’s still space in the market to combat food wastage and Finnish app ResQ Club hopes to come in and fill that gap. Currently active in 22 European cities, ResQ Club is now setting foot on our shores to join the battle against food wastage.
Tuure Parkkinen, founder and CEO of ResQ Club told Vulcan Post that their service worldwide has “over 65,000 registered users who have resQ’d over 100,000 portions of food from going to waste unnecessarily”.
He attributes their growth thus far to four contributing factors:
What does it take to “ResQ” food?
The ResQ Club app is available on three platforms: iOS, Android and on the web.
Restaurants near you that have deals are marked, and you can select them to scroll through what’s on offer. The restaurants usually have a quick description and a link to their pages in case you want to check them out first before ordering.
The meals are offered at a fixed 40 to 70% discount, and these are fresh quality food that would otherwise have been thrown away.
Once you have a deal that you want, all you need to do is reserve the meal and make an in-app payment. Pick-up is according to your convenience, as long as the restaurant is still open of course.
You can also choose to get real-time notifications of the participating restaurants’ daily surplus meals and treats according to your diet settings and other preferences. Settings you can tweak include choosing the maximum distance and tagging favourite venues.
Will they hit the right notes in Malaysia?
Tuure told Vulcan Post that their initial market research results have suggested that Malaysia is ready for this service. “Food waste is a major issue, and people (both restaurant owners and the general population) are eager to make the most of the resources at hand. Also the food service sector is large and versatile,” he said.
According to Joanne Chia, Country Manager for ResQ Club, one of their anticipated challenges upon entering the Malaysian market was the size of the area covered, specifically, KL city.
She said, “Unlike the other European cities we operate in, it may not be as convenient for someone to “resQ” their meal when you have to factor in traffic and parking.”
“Currently, we are exploring the possibility of having delivery as an optional add-on service, but of course the primary objective remains to get as much of the food as possible to good use with people living or working nearby, in order to minimise environmental impacts.”
She also brought up how Malaysians still generally prefer using cash in all transactions. “This could raise the threshold for this segment to adopt the service,” she said.
I’ve had the app since the end of last year, and I have been logging on a few times a week to check out the selection.
There are about 34 partner restaurants in Klang Valley and the surrounding areas. But when it comes to ordering, what they have on offer is still rather limited. Most days, I find about a maximum of 3 restaurants have meals available.
Tuure explained, “It is always a challenge getting the first partners to dare to try out a new concept—especially since one never wants to believe that, after all the past decades, there could have been a better way of doing things. But after we demonstrated that the service works, we have been continuously getting more and more inbound requests to join our service.”
It’s possible that the lack of offers is due to the restaurant vendors not using the app to its full potential, or that the recent festive season has increased their business to the point that they have no excess food. Perhaps when there are more vendors on board, then there will be more offers on hand too.
ResQ Club has already taken off in five other countries. Their experience will be key to their strategy and presence in this country and, it’s early days yet. As Tuure said, “It is important to first get the lessons for the local market from one city (in this case KL), so that we can serve our local partners and customers better from the start in the subsequent cities.”
Image Credit: ResQ Club