On September 25, 2019, Mette Lykke, CEO of Danish startup, Too Good To Go joined Oslo Business Forum. She spoke about how food waste is a huge issue globally that happens at each step of production. From harvest to plate, it leaves a carbon footprint and does not feed the hungry.
Is it possible to make a social impact and do business?
With a vision to create a world of zero waste, a group of friends joined forces and came up with an idea to create an application to reduce the amount of food that would end up in the trash. As a result ‘Too Good To Go’ was born, which operates across Europe with thousands of participating businesses and an army of ‘Waste Warriors.’ Its Chief Executive Officer, Mette Lykke, took to the stage at Oslo Business Forum to share her story. She revealed the opportunities of combining social impact and business.
“There is a real opportunity, there is money wasted. Let’s see if we can solve this problem,” says Mette.
Not a wasted opportunity
In a system where supply and demand do not match, entrepreneurs can dive in. But, when the opportunity is coupled to food and its waste, the story is different, explains Mette. The supply and demand need to be actively put together, especially when the supply is not readily available. Mette and her team combined these concerns to create a successful business model and turn surplus food into profit:
- Climate change: food waste contributes to up to nine percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. This must be reduced.
- Social discrepancy: approximately 870 million people go to bed hungry every day. This must be reduced.
- Economic opportunity: food waste means money wasted. These must be saved.
There are only winners
The opportunities galvanized Too Good To Go and opened it up for business, with benefits for everyone, and the environment. Plus, there is an enjoyment factor when a meal is saved, so this creates a win-win-win scenario, says Mette. She compares the application to ordering takeout, “You can also pick up your phone, order a pizza and go pick that up, but I promise you it’s a different experience and it’s not only because of the food, it’s because you know you actually did something good.”
On the financial side, the consumers will win, because the application offers food at huge discounts, and the retailers will win, because they will recuperate financial loss by selling off their surplus food. The initiative has also proven to work as a great public relations tool for retailers who have gained new customers as a result; another win, says Mette.
To conclude, she highlights that social impact and business can work together in a well-functioning business model, with the right arguments and creativity, where everyone will benefit. Mette is on a quest to save food and do good, which is certainly not a wasted opportunity.
Have you ever wondered what we are going to eat in the future, and how all that food is going to be produced using technology? Tune in to this podcast with Lauri Reuter, an expert in the future of food.