Amid the rising cost of living and produce price increases, it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to continue to turn a profit. This, coupled with the significant amount of food waste that takes place in Australia, is causing a lot of food insecurity for consumers and businesses alike.
Forkful is a Melbourne-based startup that aims to solve some of this problem. It works directly with businesses, including cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and food retailers, to enable to them to offer surplus food to local customers at a discount rate.
This is the food that would otherwise go to waste and join the rest of the 7.6 million tonnes of food that is wasted in Australia each year.
“Times are tough right now, so if we can get extra dollars in the pockets of business owners, save food from landfill, and help consumers get cheaper meals, then it’s a win for all involved,” said Natalie Sarau, the founder of Forkful.
Forkful has recently received funding through the City of Casey’s Circular Economy Living Lab Grant, which will enable the platform to launch across the City of Casey’s 27 suburbs.
Natalie said, “We’re in the process of connecting with local businesses to get them on board with our mission to divert delicious surplus food from landfill and into the mouths of hungry local consumers. This grant and subsequent launch is an exciting step towards our goal of rolling out to Greater Melbourne within the next 12 months.”
The project has already had a highly successful trial run in the City of Darebin at the beginning of 2022.
Of the trial run, Natalie said, “Our trial run earlier this year was an incredible learning curve for us. We were able to see that the demand was there, and it gave us an invaluable opportunity to further streamline and simplify the process for consumers and business owners.”
Forkful not only provides businesses with an increase in revenue and a reduction in waste, the trial showed that it also allowed them to expand their customer bases.
“Interestingly, 75% of purchases were made by people that hadn’t been to the venue they purchased from before, so we know that this is a really exciting opportunity to connect local businesses with new consumers in their area,” Natalie said.