Turning Wastage into Edible Food
Story By: Nicolette Lim and Cristal Lim
Four SBM students stumbled upon a video about food wastage one day and decided to do more in-depth research into it.
“The world is facing a food wastage problem, so we thought it would be great if we could contribute to eliminating it,” says Liew Vian, a student from the Diploma in Marketing at the School of Business Management (SBM). Liew Vian, together with teammates Syaza Lina Binte Sulaiman, Poh Sze Ping and Chloe, then created an application which allows food vendors to acquire cosmetically imperfect food (CIF) at a cheaper price. CIF food or products are those that may not look good on the surface but are still perfectly edible.
This idea bagged the team the first prize at the Newcastle Business Plan Competition 2016. The students are happy now that their app encourages food suppliers not to waste these CIF products, because instead of disposing them, these products can be sold to other food vendors who were willing to purchase them.
The amount of food waste Singapore has generated since 2004 has increased by almost 50 per cent and is set to increase as the country’s population and wealth continues to grow. In 2014 alone, food waste in Singapore reached almost 800,000 tonnes, equivalent to two bowls of food per person each day.
When the students entered the competition – the theme for 2016 was 'Innovative Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century' – they decided to use the idea of food wastage and combat the issue by creating a company called Mutant Co. They chose the word “mutant” because despite how these vegetables and fruits were cosmetically imperfect, they are still edible.
The students said having to balance so many school projects and the competition was not easy. With the guidance of their lecturer Mr. Daniel Lim, they overcame challenges and raised pertinent questions during meetings to make sure the problem is solved early.
The four applied what they had learnt during their marketing related modules which not only helped them in defining their brand but also in the design of their logo. Having a background in accounting also helped the team with their finances.
The team said the biggest takeaway from the competition was learning to believe in themselves. “No matter what the results are, you should always be proud of your own hard work,” concludes Syaza.