The Disruption Agenda is a Nedbank CIB and Plug and Play Tech Centre initiative that brought 10 visionary startups from across the globe to South Africa to meet with top business leaders.

Introducing: Wasteless – one of the Top 10 innovators that attended The Disruption Agenda

Founded in 2017, Wasteless is helping to fight one of the biggest problems on the planet – food waste.

Wasteless was founded on the vision of resolving socioeconomic inefficiency. The business identified an area of operations where human beings have reached a non-optimal status quo in history. This status quo impacts three of the key global players in today’s world, namely consumers, businesses and nature. With Wasteless, the aim is to provide a solution that will remedy this loss of efficiency and improve the status quo for supermarket supply chains, thereby achieving equilibrium.

“We offer an outstanding business case for reducing unnecessary food waste, which is increasingly a top priority for business leaders, consumers, and governments across the globe,” states Ben Biron, Founder and COO of Wasteless, “one-third of all foods produced are being wasted, at a cost of over €65 billion every year in Europe alone, and with an inordinate negative impact on global warming as well as access to food and resources. Wasteless can change that.”

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimates that between a third and a half of all foods produced are wasted worldwide every year. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that approximately 1.3 billion tons of food produced worldwide for human consumption every year get lost or wasted. In industrialised countries, more than 40% of losses occur at the retail and consumer levels.

According to the Harvard Business Review, retailers are major contributor to global food waste due to outdated inventory systems that lead to excess inventory and inefficiencies throughout the supply chain. Traditional store practices also contribute to food waste. These include high cosmetic standards for fruits and vegetables, which leads to the rejection of foods with even marginal appearances of imperfection. Overstocking of fresh foods is also a waste contributor due to their perishable nature. Yet the misconception persists that consumers are more likely to purchase from well-stocked displays.

Then, labels such as Best by and Sell by are often misinterpreted by consumers to be expiration dates, leading to the premature discarding of foods. In many parts of the world, these labels are not regulated or standardized.

For all these reasons, the Wasteless solution specifically targets the retail sector in its fight to minimise food waste by means of its sophisticated pricing system, which offers an immediate and viable solution.

Using its proprietary machine-learning pricing engine, Wasteless prices products dynamically, in real time, based on a series of variables including the expiration date, shelf capacity, regional factors, brand strength, on-shelf competition, and more. Prices are displayed on electronic shelf labels or online checkouts, where consumers can see the product’s regular price as well as a discounted price for a specific expiration date.

Given that every consumer is constantly making financial and moral decisions about food, the Wasteless model offers better pricing on products with a short expiration date that saves the consumer money and, more importantly, it enforces an improved sense of well-being for each of us as a player in nature’s ecosystem by leaving no trace of waste.

Wasteless product tracking also allows for continuous shelf monitoring at the touch of a button. Anticipating out of stock levels, combined with individual expiration date tracking, not only allows for precise shelf auditing but also smoother order forecasting, thereby allowing stores to ensure that they never run out of consumers’ favourite products.

Wasteless effectively takes machine learning capabilities used online and brings them to brick and mortar outlets. Tracking products at the item level, automating manual processes, and applying dynamic pricing have been the foundation of successful e-commerce platforms enabling them to substantially increase their profits. Wasteless allows supermarkets to close the gap and compete in the digital era.

Wasteless has offices in Israel, the Netherlands and the USA, with visions of expanding across the globe.

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