We interviewed Miranda Khamis, founder of the London-based tech platform Food Drop.
Can you tell us a bit about what Food Drop is?
Food Drop is a tech platform that monitors and predicts surplus food in stores and intelligently connects this to local charities, who can collect the food at the end of the day. We have partnered with retailers like McDonald’s, Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero and Hummingbird Bakery to ensure over a million items have been redistributed to charities across the U.K.
What led to the creation of Food Drop?
Food Drop started as a passion project between my co-founder Everest and I when we were at university. We studied in a coffee shop and soon noticed that retailers were often forced to throw away food at the end of the day, we also knew there were many local charities in need of food, so set about connecting to the two parties. We were soon being asked to launch across the country, so we began building a platform that would allow us to coordinate and optimize redistribution at scale.
How does Food Drop Work?
Food Drop is a two-sided platform. We partner with retailers and integrate into their stores. Stores have access to an online dashboard and in-store voice calling system that monitors and predicts surplus amounts. The tech platform then intelligently matches surplus food to local charities who have joined, these charities collect the food for free at the end of the day. Charities are supported and coordinated via an AI-powered chatbot that operates on WhatsApp.
What have been your top achievements for Food Drop?
Partnering with all our retailers and charities has been fantastic, as everyone has been so committed to the mission of reducing food and ensuring surplus food goes to those in need. One of our significant achievements was launching a bespoke platform for Mcdonald’s in three working days when the first lockdown started. The platform connected surplus food in restaurants and distribution centers to charities across the U.K., more than 220 tonnes of food and drink were distributed within the first eight weight weeks of the platform going live.
What’s Next for Food Drop or to help get to zero-waste in general?
Food waste is a growing problem, with more than a third of all food wasted. I think there is massive potential for Food Drop to continue to grow and help a range of retailers. I also believe there is potential for the platform to assist in the redistribution of other surplus items.
Top Tips for reducing food waste while we’re in lockdown?
My number one tip would be to use your freezer! If I see any veg or fruit is coming to an end, I’ll chop it up and pop it in the freezer. I have found this especially useful for avocados which I buy in bulk and use frozen in my smoothies. The second would be to check what you have before you go food shopping, and if possible plan your meals ahead, so you’re buying what you need. My third tip would be to get creative and try to use up what you have left, one of my favourite dishes is to make a vegetarian lasagne and use up all the leftover vegetables in my fridge.