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A collection of Grub Cycle's surplus food for sale

Company seeks to tackle food waste by simplifying Singaporeans’ access to surplus food

Can social enterprises succeed in getting Singaporeans to buy surplus food that would otherwise go to waste when the average Singaporean household is not likely to even recycle?

Well, though it may be hard but Grub Cycle, a startup focusing on getting customers food they want at discounted prices, believes the key to getting Singaporeans to minimise food waste is providing easy access to surplus food that can be had at the click of a button.

“Imagine being able to scroll through a menu of grocery items, baked goods, restaurant fare that have been heavily discounted from the comfort of your seat. And then you have the choice to buy these items by just clicking a website or app button,” said Fawziah Selamat, who is leading the charge to bring Grub Cycle, a Kuala Lumpur-based startup, to Singapore.

“We want to make being socially conscious easy, accessible and convenient. Then we’ll have no excuses for not caring about food waste.”

checking-of-food
Grub Cycle’s team inspects the goodies at a cafe that is participating in Grub Bites

Singapore households have a dismal recycling rate of just 19%. Over in neighbouring Malaysia, the recycling rate is almost half that of Singapore’s at 10.5%. But that didn’t deter Grub Cycle’s founder, Redza Shahid, from launching the business in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Since Grub Cycle’s Kuala Lumpur launch in June 2016, the startup has saved 450 kilograms of food from ending up as waste. Also, part of the startup’s proceeds go towards subsidising the cost of everyday staples for currently 114 low-income families, in keeping with the startup’s belief of paying it forward and increasing access for all to food.

“We’re confident that, similarly, there are Singaporeans who would jump at the opportunity to buy surplus food if only they know how and where to buy it. And if you can save money by doing that, it makes buying surplus food even more attractive,” said Redza.

Grub Cycle Singapore aims to start operations in early 2017. It’s now working on convincing local food operators and supermarkets to start listing their surplus food for purchase. To achieve this, the startup is getting Singaporeans to tell such businesses exactly what they want.

“We’re running a survey aimed at informing local businesses just how receptive Singaporeans are in buying unsold or surplus food. So far, our hunch has been right with more than 90% of respondents saying that yes, they will buy surplus food,” said Fawziah.

Grub Cycle Singapore hopes more people will participate in the survey, called Have Your Say!, which can be accessed at http://bit.ly/GCSGSurvey.

The survey is also available on their website (http://bit.ly/GrubCycleSingapore) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/grubcyclesg).

“The more people we have saying that they will buy surplus food, the easier it is for us to convince businesses that there is an incentive for them to list their surplus food for purchase,” said Fawziah.