New online platform set to tackle food waste

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A major new platform to help reduce food waste is currently being trialled.

Founding partners Co-op and Microsoft, supported by technology consultancy BJSS and Team ITG, have created Caboodle, a not-for-profit digital platform that enables supermarkets, cafés and restaurants to connect with community groups and volunteers to redistribute surplus food.

According to Wrap, around 1.1 million tonnes of food goes to waste across the food retail and hospitality sector annually in the UK.

Shirine Khoury-Haq, Interim CEO of the Co-op commented on the announcement: “The amount of good quality surplus food that’s not currently being redistributed is astounding.

“We’re currently trialling caboodle in over 100 food stores and the results we’re seeing so far are incredible. We’ll be rolling it out across our entire estate next month and hope that all other retailers and businesses within hospitality will see the benefit too.

“The more organisations use Caboodle the simpler and more effective it will be for volunteers and community groups to gain access to good food.”

Whilst many are working hard to help combat food waste, according to the founders of the new platform, the process remains cumbersome for community groups.  So whilst overall surplus food redistribution has trebled between 2015 and 20201, there are still 200,000 tonnes that could have been redistributed but has not.

Built on Microsoft’s Power Platform technology, Caboodle aims to create a single place where food retailers and businesses across the hospitality sector can connect with volunteers and community groups in every city, town and village in the UK, helping to share food when and where it is needed.

The platform, which is currently being trialled in Co-op’s food stores in Northern Ireland, Milton Keynes and London goes live next month across a further 2,500 food stores.

Community groups outside of these areas can register on the Caboodle website to be notified of when the platform is operating in their area.

It’s open to charities and community groups of all kinds, from food banks and family support networks to youth groups, schools and more.

For supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, Caboodle empowers retailers to share surplus food easily, using live notifications to alert charities when more slots are available.

Meanwhile, they’ll save time for community groups by having the opportunity to book and schedule slots, receive live notifications when new slots are available and gain access to volunteers easily via a digital noticeboard.

Furthermore, it is hoped that Caboodle will even encourage the creation of new food charities by making surplus food so readily available for sharing.

More information about the platform is available on the Co-op and Caboodle websites.