Case Study - Food waste management startup

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”[i].

The startup under discussion was working in Food waste management.

The problem:

One-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally and amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.[ii] This wastage is a huge problem for restaurants because it translates to a loss of potential revenue and is also a great public concern. Expressing this in financial terms, food waste comes at a cost of £2.5bn per annum to the UK's pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets[iii].

UK throws away around 9.5 million tons of food waste in a single year – even though 8.4 million people in the UK are in food poverty. Billions of pounds are wasted each year when food is disposed of unnecessarily.[iv]

Food that never gets eaten represents a waste of resources, such as land, water, energy, soil, seeds and other inputs that are used in its production. This also translates to green gas emissions that are in vain.

The founder wanted to connect customers with restaurants with unsold food surplus. Doing so, she wanted to promote responsible consumption and production while generating revenue for restaurants.

She wanted to know whether this was possible by conducting market research and wanted to formalize her business plan.

The solution:

This project consisted of market research to understand the market she was intending on entering followed by a business plan.

For the market research, the specific topics under investigation were:

  • Market Trends and Size
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PESTLE Analysis

The market trends and size consisted of looking into the number of restaurants by region in the UK to find the ideal target area for beginning operations.

Other factors such as trends in the UK food service and hospitality industry were also compiled to present a complete picture on the state of the industry.

The competitor analysis was conducted to analyze the huge global market for food preservation. Most competitors exist as app-based platforms where restaurants list their surplus food on a discount close to the end of the day. Some competitors also take matters into their own hands and offer “Magic Boxes” that include food from various restaurants according to specific dietary requirements. The pricing models of competitors were analyzed.

The SWOT analysis went into detail covering the drawbacks and potential opportunities for working in the food preservation industry with growing support for startups working on UN SDGs. Some strengths of working with the prevalent business models in the industry were discussed and suggestions on marketing were discussed.

The PESTLE analysis looked into the various governmental initiatives that can help the startup as well as other factors that could affect the business.

The customer analysis accommodated secondary market research by looking at surveys conducted by competitors and other organizations. The target market and their needs were identified.

Following the compilation of the market research, the business plan was drafted to include the following:

  • Business overview
  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Industry & Market Analysis
  • Competitive landscape and perceptual mapping
  • Business strategy
    • Scalability
    • Innovation
    • Viability






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