Almost all workplaces and college campuses offer a vending machine filled with snack items such as chips, pretzels, cookies, and candy. While shelf stable, these sugary and salty snack items are less nutritious and not nearly as tasty as fresher options like fresh sandwiches or salads. And yet these long-lasting, less healthy items persist as a mainstay in the office vending machine because fresh items expire three to four days after they are prepared, therefore increasing the risk of these products ending up in a landfill.
Foodoo.ai wants to change all that by giving offices the ability to offer fresh food without all the food waste. The Czech Republic-based startup’s mission is to provide food delivery to offices with what it calls “zero waste nutrition.” The company works with certified commercial kitchens to prepare fresh, healthy food options, delivers them to workplaces, and then uses its proprietary software and hardware to ensure little to no food is wasted.
Once Foodoo.ai’s kitchen partners finish prepping individually packaged fresh food dishes like sandwiches, veggies and dips, soups, and salads, the company then attaches an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag to the outside of the packaging. This tag contains important information like the dish’s name, the ingredients, and the expiration date; all of this information is sent to the company’s data center.
Foodoo.ai has developed a proprietary hardware kit that can be installed into any existing refrigerator, mini-fridge, vending machine, or other food storage unit. Without the need to develop its own smart fridge or vending machine, Foodoo.ai can scale faster while also giving customers a lower-cost option that doesn’t involve swapping out their fridge.
The hardware system consists of scanners that keep track of product stock and the expiration dates. The data that is collected from the hardware is sent to Foodoo.ai’s cloud-based software, which uses machine learning to provide insight into the shelf life of products, how much product is left at the end of the day, anticipated consumption rate, user behavior, and what products are in high demand.
The grab-and-go food market has become increasingly more popular with millennials. Prepackaged, short shelf-life food items were originally considered low-quality food, often associated with gas stations or corner markets. Now, prepackaged grab-and-go food is depended on by office workers, college students, travelers, and those working or visiting hospitals.
Most people have particular food preferences, dietary restrictions, and allergies, and unfortunately, grab-and-go food cannot be customized to accommodate this. This might lead to customers picking at certain parts of the dish, and throwing the rest away. If customer demand and traffic are not accounted for, this can quickly lead to packaged fresh foods expiring and being thrown out.
According to Foodoo.ai, about 17 percent of the food it delivers to workplaces is wasted. As the company’s artificial intelligence gleans more information, Foodoo.ai believes its system can gain even more insight into food preferences and consumer behavior and help to reduce the amount of grab-and-go food wasted.