OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

FoodBee: Now You Can Eat Your Cake and Have It Back!

Pioneering the first global Base-of-Pyramid business model for waste-to-wealth that brings about shared prosperity and financial inclusion.

Photo of Francis Leye
4 2

Written by


Food lost and food waste have been a human preoccupation globally. Food is been wasted at every stage of the food chain but is more detrimental at the consumer and retail levels because of waste in resources to get food to such states (including cost of processing, transportation, etc). Available global food waste data are very scary in volume.

For instance, the US spends over $218 billion, or 1.3 percent of GDP, growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten, according to a new report. That translates to around 63 million tons of food waste, which is 40 percent of all food grown, including food that’s left unharvested on farms.

Producing this food that’s destined for waste uses 18 percent of the country’s cropland. That’s 80 million acres, or three-quarters the size of California. It also involves 19 percent of fertilizers, 21 percent of fresh water, and 21 percent of landfill volume in the country, according to the report from ReFED, a collaboration instigated by the Fink Family Foundation involving 30 high profile business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders. Read more details here at here.

Image title


According to MissionPoint Partners, an impact investment firm, nearly 85 percent of food waste happens in homes or at consumer-facing businesses like restaurants and grocery stores. Many reasons food is been wasted are quite petty. From our research, emotional attachment to one's food is one reason why people keep food past when they should use it. Rather than let some one else use it, they prefer to let it get spoiled.

There have been an attempt to build business strategies in the food waste space to help reduce waste. More concern are towards business models that will incorporate shared prosperity through wealth to waste strategies. Simply put, models that will help the recovery of food at the end of the channel.

At FoodBee, our mission is to create the most simple and scalable way to create financial recovery and inclusion by connecting food owners to food users/value-added services. We have built the world's first food waste to wealth recoup model and matchmaking app. Food Owners give out food to be wasted to our Food Vans/Collection Points. We use our app to match or notify registered users. Food gets donated, processed (into bio-gas, bio-fertilizer), or sold at discounted prices. The food owner gets back cash, bio-gas (for cooking, electricity), bio-fertilizers (for food production), points (qualifies owner to get a HomeBioGas plant, gas generator, gas cooker). He can also get a combination of the above. No wonder, our slogan is "Now You Can Eat Your Cake and Have It Back!"


To be able to resolve food wastage, adequate knowledge is required on how, when, and where food gets wasted. Our diagram below captures food journey through waste to wealth. All foods (natural or processed) gets wasted due to these key reasons: Expired, Assumed to have expired, Ugly, Excess Grocery, Old unused, and peels/crumbs from used food. Let's Imagine our casework "Mary." No matter the case or state, through FoodBee, Mary, a food owner can simply use our chatbot or app to alert us of food to be wasted. She immidiately gets a reply from our system of about our trucks along her area or she can visit our Collection Points.

Mary meets our collection truck operators who collects, values, and weights her food. Then, she's given an invoice. Mary's food is taken to our FoodBee's main Collection Point for sorting and classifying. After this, we use our chatbot or app to notify registered users on our network of available food to be sold or donated.

At this stage, we classify Mary's food into two categories: Edible/Growable (Ugly food, Excess growable grocery, assumed to have expired food) and Non-Edible/Non-Growable (Expired, Old unused, Peels/crumbs). The first category is sold or donated to individuals at discount price, industries/processors, farmers for re-cultivation, or donated to Food Banks and charities. The second category is further processed into bio-fertilizer, bio-gas, compost, other by-products. 

Both category of foods above are sold or donated. The processed products in category two can also be sold for cash. Finally, Mary can receive a percentage of the revenue from her food. She may choose to take either bio-fuel, bio-fertilizer or a combination. Mary can also go for our Point System, which allows her to accumulate points from all she is suppose to get until it qualifies her to get a gas generator, HomeBioGas plant, or gas burner for personal use at home.

We developed our measurement system to help us achieve the above, which we called Foodage. 1Foodage = 5kg = $10. Mary can use her bio-fertilizer to grow more food or her bio-gas to cook at home or generate her own electricity. This way, Mary doesn't have to worry about waste, "fowl odor", enough  gas, food, and better life. See the process below. Importantly, Mary's approach to her food will change knowing her food means more wealth.

Image title


Considering the Base of Pyramid, at both local, state, national and even international levels, food waste have led to loss of millions of dollars in revenues plus huge environmental damage. 1.3billion tonnes of food waste is actually 4 times the amount of food needed to feed the world's 868million hungry and equals the total food production in Sub-Sahara Africa. At FoodBee, we work to restore dignity to food by providing people a source of revenue. When people realize that their food can bring the cash, gas, fertilizer, or more food, they tend to care and be more emotionally attached.

FoodBee will bring financial inclusion and recovery to about 500million people in Africa and about 1billion worldwide through scaling and adoption of our model. Of this number, Men to Women percentage of impact is 65% to 35%. Since 85% waste happens at home, it is hence viable that about 70% of this wastage can be reversed with our model and 15% in other areas like grocery stores and supermarkets. Generally, this will benefit the whole food value-chain by reducing wastage to a nearest minimum. The best part is that this service is accessed at almost no cost.

Our solution can help food owners recoup up to 60% of their original cost of food, enabling them plant or buy more food. Ability to acquire household cooking gadgets also helps them reduce household expenditures by 30% and having a better life and environment. We ensure a "Zero Waste" model and with the high rate of economic challenges globally, we are certain that this will be the huge thing in Big Data and food. We will partner HomeBioGas, a clean energy company in Israel to help people acquire this plant for use at homes. Read about their Campaign at Indiegogo here.

The HomeBioGas team with their revolutionary history-making technology for clean energy. This is a low-cost technology to transform waste into gas and fertilizer for home use.


Mobile apps have become less effective in terms of usage and other factors. Considering the lower end of the Pyramid, users tend not to use apps because of cost of data, technology literacy required to download/use apps, lack of knowledge on applicability, etc. Contrariwise, reaching users with services over messaging services like WhatsApp or Facebook has proven easier as most people today use smart gadgets. Chatbots are very instant in message relay and enables a better user experience. This service will be built over service platforms such as WhatsApp as ChatBot. However, we are not ruling out the potential of an app system which we will also incorporate in the solution.

Through an incremental approach, we intend to achieve;
○ Viral Awareness - by creating simple approaches to share through various social network platforms

○ Data Understanding - by studying usage data from various test users so as to evolve into the best response protocol.

○ User  Trust - by learning from mistakes of other online systems to build the most trusted user platform.


1. 29 Smart and Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste:

2. 5 Amazing Strategies to Eliminate Food Waste and Feed the Hungry:

3. Food Waste in Europe:

4. How Entrepreneurs and Investors Can Help Reduce Food Waste by 20% in 10 Years:

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We will begin by creating a user-focused survey to validate additional concepts about our solution. We will also interface we key stakeholders to hear their opinion.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I need product development or design skill input from the OpenIDEO community and any other useful support to this cause.

Tell us about your work experience:

A computer Scientist, Global Social Entrepreneur, and CEO. My first company operates in the food processing space and my second in design. I have over 16years of industry experience in product design, social entrepreneurship, etc and have been awarded extensively for my efforts by government, international organizations, and private establishments. My vast knowledge in the food space is an advantage for me to develop solutions that will lead to attitudinal change in the issue of food waste.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It was in the works before this challenge – it’s existed for 2-6 months


Join the conversation:

Photo of Arvind Kumar

Thanks for sharing this type of web page <a href="">why my mouse is not working</a> here i am know all the procedure that can be used to connect the wireless mouse device and also install the driver that can be used in the wireless mouse.

Photo of marco mihambo

Hello! Francis Leye! I hope you are doing fine! congratulation for your good and innovative ideas......may you please again visit this and advise accordingly regarding all aspects for further improvement

Photo of Ahmed

Thank you Francis for adding me to your team.This idea looks very good.Please have a look on my ideas too.

Photo of Francis Leye

Thanks Ahmed. I will surely.