Jun 8, 2021

Innovations in food-packaging with delivery company Gousto

Helen Adams
2 min
Home delivery company Gousto has manufactured an insulative carboard box for food packaging, to keep food fresh and tasty, without creating waste

In 2013, the founder of Gousto, Timo Schmidt, asked Dragons Den UK for £100,000, in return for a 7% stake in the gourmet home dining experience. 

By 2020, Gousto was the leading home-delivery option in the UK and had a revenue of £189m

This month, Gousto has rolled out a UK-first recipe box packaging innovation – the Eco Chill box, an innovation in food-packaging, which will prevent waste and not compromise food safety or taste.

Gousto allows customers to choose their meals online and delivers the ingredients and instructions to their door, helping families with little time prepare healthy, tasty meals.

The Eco Chill box is an insulation box made from recycled cardboard, which keeps Gousto’s fresh food cold throughout delivery. Previously the company had been using a biodegradable insulation product, which required plastic wrapping. But Eco Chill’s original design will save 74.5 tonnes of plastic from Gousto boxes each year.


The Eco Chill insulation box is an innovation in food-packaging

Cardboard is a top insulator and the Eco Chill Box uses multiple layers of it to trap the air and create pockets of insulation, which prevent cold air from escaping out of the box and keeping food chilled.

“Gousto was born out of the vision to remove food waste from the system, a lot of which is created by inefficiencies in traditional grocery chains”, said Boldt. “By harnessing technology, we’ve achieved a significant 23% carbon emissions saving compared to a supermarket shop. Whilst we grow rapidly, we are committed to doing so with purpose towards our goal that every meal will leave the world better off.”

The company looked into other materials such as paper-based, bio-based, compostable and biodegradable, even seaweed and thistle plastic, but cardboard won. 


The sustainability journey continues for Gousto

The next big sustainability goal for Gousto will be to encourage other businesses and even the UK government to join in and make similar commitments for a positive impact. 

But as a business, Gousto plans for all of its branded plastic packaging to be either reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.


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Jun 11, 2021

SokoFresh's cold storage units will stop food waste in Kenya

Helen Adams
2 min
Many smallholder farmers in Kenya lack access to cold storage facilities. The new pay-as-you-go storage units from SokoFresh will decrease food waste

A foodtech company in Kenya is using solar energy to help smallholder farmers keep harvested produce cool to prevent food waste.

SokoFresh is a member of The Circulars Accelerator, an initiative to help entrepreneurs scale innovations that will help the world move towards a circular economy – in which waste is eliminated and resources are used again and again.


New cold storage units to prevent food waste

Small-volume farmers who grow avocados, mangos and French beans in Kenya, are helping to test the model from SokoFresh, which manages mobile cold storage units, that run on 100% solar energy.

By paying a small amount (1 Kenyan shilling) per kilogram on a pay-as-you-go basis, farmers or produce buyers can affordably access cold storage, when they need it.

SokoFresh plans for 400 cold storage units, in five years, to boost income for 35,000 farmers.


Cold storage units will support Kenya’s farmers 

About 90% of Kenya’s agricultural produce comes from smallholders, who don’t have the kind of cold storage solutions available to large-scale producers. This means lots of produce perishes in outside temperatures after being harvested.

“More than 30% of all food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted”, said a representative from SokoFresh says. “Food loss in Africa occurs almost entirely in the production and distribution stages.”

Farmers using the model can earn up to 50% more on their harvest, while buyers receive more and better quality produce.

The cost of logistics is also reduced, because trucks are picking up full loads that have been stored in the cold storage units by multiple farmers.

Enviu, the Netherlands-based impact venture organization behind SokoFresh, hopes to have a network of 400 cold storage units in the next five years. This would help 35,000 farmers, creating 3,000 new jobs in rural areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Sokofresh supports UN Sustainable Goal 12

Around 14% of food is lost after harvest on farms and at the transport, storage, processing and wholesale stages, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This food has a value of more than $400b a year.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres last year described food loss and waste as an “ethical outrage.”

“In a world with enough food to feed all people, everywhere, 690 million people continue to go hungry and three billion cannot afford a healthy diet,” he said.

By 2030, UN member states have pledged to halve food waste and reduce food loss as part of Sustainable Development Goal 12.

SokoFresh is a part of the solution to food security and ending food waste.


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