A shocking statistic we recently learned was that one third of all food produced is wasted and yet this waste problem is one of those challenges that many people are either unaware of, or simply have no idea what they can do to change it. One Swedish company has come up with a clever solution to this growing problem by building an eCommerce platform that connects food service outlets with cost-conscious consumers at the time it matters most – when the food would otherwise be wasted.
Focused on the idea of ‘rescuing’ food, Karma is a simple idea that meets a widespread business need, appeals to our conscience and also to our wallets! The name ‘Karma’ is a sanskrit word that describes how good deeds now can create happiness in the future – exactly the kind of cause-related marketing that consumers are increasingly demanding from brands. And with over $12million of funds already raised by the Karma team, investors are clearly seeing the need and the opportunity to be part of solving this global problem.
Trends and Regulation
Karma is perfectly positioned alongside other clever concepts to address global climate change concerns and also the increasing policies and regulation that requires retailers and hospitality outlets to better manage their food waste. Similarly, a European app called “Too Good To Go” has created a platform that matches retailers with “food warriors” who pay discounted rates to buy a “magic bag” of leftover food that would otherwise have gone to waste. Consumers enjoy the element of surprise rather than the specific meals and products that Karma sells, and customers enjoy a bag of great food for an average of £3 while again “rescuing” the food from simply going to waste.
Other complementary concepts include FoodCloud – an Irish-based social enterprise that re-distributes unsold food to charities when it would otherwise be simply thrown away. The organisation’s software simply links the retailers to registered charities and uses volunteers throughout the country to support their deliveries.
Over 400,000 customers love the idea of rescuing food and saving money using the Karma app.
How the Karma App Works:
- Retailers upload details of unsold food on the karma app. There are currently over 1,500 retailers using the app in its home market of Sweden, and more recently also in London. There are no subscription fees for restaurants to use the platform.
- Consumers download the app for free and browse the food options available nearby their location.
- They pick their favourite food option – be it a take-away, cafe or restaurant food and buy it for half price – paying within the app itself to ensure it’s allocated and reserved for them to collect.
- Customers then collect their food within the timeframe specified by the seller – enjoying delicious options from new or even frequently visited outlets – knowing they got a great deal and ‘rescued’ great food from a wasted end.
- Food service owners pocket the payment – enjoying lower wastage as well as delighting customers who value the brand’s commitment to conservation.
- As well as being marketed to potential new customers, Karma estimates that restaurant partners can increase their yearly revenue by up to £30,000 from food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
The Karma Food Collection Bag for collecting ‘rescued’ food.
Awards, PR and Recognition
Originally launched in November 2016, the Karma app has quickly grown to over 400,000 users, and is also enjoying some high profile publicity with stories about the company already featured in business and tech media including Wired, Vogue, The Times, Forbes and most recently Huffpost. The coverage is of course always positive, given the win-win concept – and the company also has a female co-founder Elsa Bernadotte which adds some additional interest for many seeking greater diversity in the corporate world.
Awards and publicity of course don’t build businesses – sales and delighted customers do, so Karma has confirmed that once the UK restaurant sector is running effectively, the founders plan to also target supermarkets in the same way they’ve successfully done in their home country Sweden.
With such a compelling concept, there’s no doubt that ‘food-tech’ will become an increasingly competitive sector – and I’ve no doubt Karma is well positioned to stay at the forefront in its existing markets and no doubt will use their investment funds carefully to build and expand globally.
Some of the awards and recognition for the Karma app.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.