As outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, one of the major challenges humankind faces heading into this 21st century is how much food we manage to completely waste. The U.S. and Europe are on par in contributing the most consumer-related waste—but interestingly, practically every major nation on Earth equally has an issue when it comes to commercial-level food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, roughly one third of the food produced worldwide for human consumption each year—approximately 1.3 billion tons—is lost or wasted. For how much energy and effort goes into producing our food, this outcome represents a tragic resource waste.
TotalCtrl is an Oslo Founder Institute portfolio company combating commercial food waste through a SaaS solution for tracking food expiration dates. Led by Co-Founder and CEO Charlotte Aschim, TotalCtrl is on a mission to develop a “faster, fresher future” by building a company that offers commercially attractive food waste reduction solutions. And today, the company is on track towards making it happen, with a growing list of success metrics.
Having now launched two product solutions, TotalCtrl has been named a top global innovation system, a European Food Waste Changemaker, and the winner of the 2018 Greentech Challenge. TotalCtrl was also recently named a Top 100 Nordic Impact Startup, receiving special designation for specifically helping to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals 12 & 13: Responsible Consumption and Production, & Climate Action.
Not only is TotalCtrl racking up name recognition for their work, but they are also bringing on well-established brands as customers. In fact, prior to offficially launching, they signed the second largest online retailer in Norway, Handleriet.no, and helped them increase their sales by 5% in just four months. This begs the question, how does a company that focuses on reducing food waste help drive revenue for commercial organizations? It’s simple, and focuses on bringing a better layer of intelligence to food management.
TotalCtrl eliminates food waste from grocery stores and other commercial food sellers through a SaaS solution that tracks expiration dates.
CEO Aschim explains,
Through our online analytics-based dashboard that leverages the value of food expiration data, retailers can make unprecedented improvements to their finances, marketing, and food waste. Our software is fully optimized for cloud operation and designed to work on any device.
Prices correlate to the shelf life of the food products, especially to produce, and become heavily discounted prior to going bad—because if not sold, the food is thrown away. This automated real-time pricing helps ensure far less food is wasted, because consumers will buy it up when prices are heavily discounted.
Food waste items are dumped into a global food waste management market valued at $32 billion in 2017, and projected to increase to $45 billion by 2023. Compare that to the amount of food losses, and the waste amounts to approximately $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. TotalCtrl is working towards flipping those numbers around, as their solution helps retailers to reduce food waste by as much as 85%, while cutting 80% of food waste costs, and even increasing available staff time.
Unlike traditional retail or grocery models where stockers are often tasked with manually reviewing expiration dates, marking the item down or throwing out items, TotalCtrl’s software manages all the information for the grocer. That means a grocery store can market a particular item before it would even need to be marked down, which in turn drives more revenue to the store and reduces food waste. This can lead to improved sales forecasting, based on data built from prior purchasing and sales history. The solution is accessible through both a mobile or desktop application, and provides details such as where expiring products are located in the store, inventory status, and important notifications.
When asked what motivated the founding team to launch TotalCtrl, the Founders said it was because of their “own experience and frustration in an industry wasting an enormous amount of money, time, and resources.”
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