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22nd Feb 2020

Iseult Ward on the effects of food waste: “Over 30% of food produced is wasted”

Jamie Concannon

“If food waste was a country it’d be the third largest emitter after China and the US.”

We’ve all done it. You open the fridge door, get a whiff of something awful and instantly try to find the source.

Whether the culprit is a long-passed chicken breast or a sour bottle of milk, the cause is usually the same. You bought more groceries than you needed, and the only answer now is to throw it in the bin.

Speaking on episode 13 of All In, backed by AIB, FoodCloud Co-Founder and CEO Iseult Ward spoke about just how detrimental food waste is to the environment. Food was always something of a passion for her, but there came a time when it became clear how she could use that to her advantage:

“I was always passionate about food personally and then finding out about food waste as a problem, it was really that moment of ‘I can’t not try and solve this’ and that was the feeling that helped me and my co-founders start FoodCloud.

“Over 30% of food produced is wasted, resulting in about 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, if food waste was a country it’d be the third largest emitter after China and the US. At the same time we need to produce 56% more food to feed populations by 2050 and we’re facing into climate disaster if we don’t actually find good solutions.”

“We still really need to focus on trying to rescue as much food in Ireland as possible.”

This problem isn’t unique to any one part of the world, and Ireland is most certainly not exempt. Huge amounts of food get thrown away in Ireland every day, and changing that is one of Iseult’s main goals for the next few years.

Doing this isn’t just good for the environment, but it can also have a positive impact on society as a whole. Food banks and homeless shelters will never turn away edible food, and linking up with such places seems like a straightforward way to improve the sitauation:

“Of course if you’re rescuing good edible food and preventing all of the negative impact on the environment, that food is now ending up with people. We are working with a network of over 650 charities in Ireland, another 7,000 in the UK, from homeless shelters to youth clubs to women’s refuges to elderly centres.

“All of that food instead of creating a negative impact on the environment is actually creating a really beautiful social impact.

“So you know being able to take something that could potentially be so negative and create something so positive out of it is just something that’s incredibly motivating. 

It’s not a problem that will disappear overnight, but companies like FoodCloud are certainly taking steps in the right direction.

All In, backed by AIB, is available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Wednesday.