Karma, a Swedish ‘food rescue’ app, announced a plan earlier this month to install 100 communal smart fridges across Sweden, the UK and France. Currently, restaurants and supermarkets can sell their surplus food through Karma’s app, but dealing with Karma customers can be time-consuming and requires extra staff training. The new initiative means that suppliers can leave surplus food in a communal fridge, and Karma customers can then unlock the fridge themselves once they have purchased items through the app. A trial in Sweden found that the self-serve smart fridges increased the amount of rescued food by 68%.
This smart solution highlights two key trend and innovation insights:
CAPACITY CAPTURE. It’s estimated that approximately one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. However, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals members have pledged to halve per capita global food waste by 2030. As well as making it easier for consumers and retailers to reduce food waste, Karma’s smart fridges expand the market by enabling food producers without physical outlets to participate. This perfectly aligns with a trend that we’ve been tracking for a number of years now of CAPACITY CAPTURE: finding and unlocking new sources of value and finding creative ways to eliminate any waste. Want more inspiration? Lettuce enables people to grow food in their backyards as part of a new, local food ecosystem; while McDonald’s & Ford recently partnered up to turn coffee waste into car parts!
Same expertise, new purpose. Karma’s smart fridges have been developed in partnership with Electrolux, the world's second largest appliance maker. Indeed, Electrolux invested in the mission-driven startup back in August 2018 as part of its efforts to encourage more sustainable living. Of course, they’re not the only traditional, long-historied incumbent looking for ways to align themselves with today’s customer expectations. Regular readers will remember the anti-groping stamp in Japan and Sri Lanka’s elephant-repelling incense. How could you take your core competencies and make them relevant to today’s biggest social, cultural and environmental challenges?