On an average, a Malaysian throws almost one kilogram of food daily,”
—— said Dr. Wan Azizah during the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-Tourism Exhibition (MAHA) 2018.
Food wastage is not a new issue in Malaysia. Over the years, authorities and non-governmental organizations have put in many efforts to address this problem. In most discussions, we are focusing on the cooked food waste or kitchen wastage. In Buffet Restaurants, every day there are excess foods that ended up in the bin. The obvious solution to this scenario is composting.
However, there are other types of food wastage beside this.
Will you check the expiration date on the box of the Cream Crackers when you doing groceries? Ever wonder where will they go after their shelf life ended if no one purchased them? Many people thought supermarket can simply donate these items to low-income families, but is this the best option?
“Of course it is nice if they get to eat some Koko Krunch. However, what they need the most is still the basic food essentials like rice, oil, salt, etc. Therefore, we don’t think it is suitable to donate all the surplus food to low-income family,” said Redza, the co-founder of Grub Cycle.
What we don’t know is that surplus food is perfectly edible a day, a week, a year, or even multiple years after the expiration date branded onto a package. For examples, canned goods are safe to consume up to 6 years if you store it nicely. For the egg, if it never floats in water, it is edible. Dried food like pasta has no water content, you can still cook perfect pasta as long as it doesn’t smell odds.
In 2016, social entrepreneur Redza Shahid and his co-founders started Grub Cycle as a social supermarket to reduce food wastage. In the beginning stage, they sell surplus food items on social media. As they grow, they have developed a website and a dedicated mobile app to improve the process.
Grub Cycle works closely with supermarkets to get a variety of surplus food products like condiments, sauces, olive oil, drinks, chocolates, cereal, and even milk. Then, they notify their subscribers about the list of surplus food items with bargain prices. The users can order the items that they want, Grub Cycle will deliver the items to them at no delivery cost.
Besides, they also collect ‘unsexy-look’ fruits and vegetables, and turn them into products like Pineapple Jam or Kimchi Cabbage that have a longer lifespan.
Additionally, part of Grub Cycle’s profits is used to subsidize the cost of basic food essentials for low-income families. By purchasing the food products from Grub Cycle, the consumers not only save a lot of costs, but they are also contributing to the community by supporting the efforts to cut down food wastage and helping low-income families.
Over the past two years, Grub Cycle has been working hard in changing the perspective of both businesses and consumers towards surplus food. “We are building awareness to let people understand that the expiration date doesn’t always indicate the exact expiration of the food.” With their write-ups and videos, more and more people understand that they don’t need to throw away the edible surplus food, and they are more confident to consume surplus food products.
Grub Cycle has joined ZOM-IN to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths! Join us now at www.zom-in.com/zomin/students/register to stay updated with the exciting events coming soon!