FoodCloud uses Microsoft Azure to help reduce food waste in Ireland

Amber Hickman
By Amber Hickman on 24 November 2022
FoodCloud uses Microsoft Azure to help reduce food waste in Ireland
Microsoft

Aoibheann O’Brien, left, and Iseult Ward co-founded FoodCloud in 2013

Ireland-based charity and social enterprise FoodCloud is using Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI to power its Foodiverse platform, which helps it to distribute surplus food from manufacturers and producers to community groups in need.

When students Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward first founded FoodCloud in 2013, they relied on manual processes to manage the collection and redistribution of surplus food from farmers, producers and manufacturers, but soon realised that they needed to invest in technology to expand their operations and reach new community groups.

“We realised it wasn’t going to be scalable for one organisation or one group of people to go around collecting surplus food for communities,” said O’Brien. “We knew technology was the enabler to scale.”

FoodCloud developed the Foodiverse platform, which is hosted on Azure and uses Power BI for internal reporting. The charity has also implemented Dynamics 365 Business Central to enable it to better manage several processes, including stock counts and the movement of items at its three hubs in Ireland. The solutions also highlights where there may be operational issues to resolve.

Dynamics 365 has expedited FoodCloud’s processes and has already contributed to an 11 per cent increase in surplus food redistribution, year over year.

FoodCloud is now working with several retailers and major food manufacturers and has redistributed nearly 180 million meals across Ireland, the UK and parts of Europe since 2013.

In 2013, it partnered with supermarket chain Tesco, which has fully integrated the Foodiverse into the technology systems in more than 3,000 of its stores in the UK.

“They developed a solution that we saw could work and could integrate within our technology,” said Lorraine Shiels, head of corporate social responsibility and internal communications at Tesco Ireland. “Simplicity in retail, as in any business, is incredibly important for any sort of sustainability of process. The fact that the app they had developed was incredibly simple but achieved an end goal was important to us.

“We can look to absolutely every item of food that we scan through in the evening to donate is trackable and traceable, so that we’re fully able to measure end-to-end our donations – the amount of meals that we donate, the kilos, broken down by store, the carbon footprint associated with it. There’s a great level of insight and reporting behind it from a business perspective.”

FoodCloud is also now working with Tesco stores across central Europe, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also has partnerships with other supermarket chains such as Aldi, Waitrose and Lidl, and international food companies such as Kellogg’s.

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