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Gator and Crane's #WasteLess Market

Gator and Crane's #WasteLess market is a zero-waste grocery and recycling center hybrid that incentivizes sustainable consumer behaviors.

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Our namesake, Gator and Crane,  is a tribute to the connection we consumers have to our local foodsheds and watersheds. The American Alligator nearly went extinct until we farmed 'em to eat 'em. Gator and Crane is the shared vision of over 600 locals in New Orleans who participated in longitudinal market research from 2013-2016. Why do consumers waste food? Often, it's because food is pre-packaged in standard sizes, leftovers are tossed, and shoppers don't plan their meals. Food waste, single-use packaging, and supply chain bottlenecks, make the modern lifestyle resource intensive, expensive and nutrient deficient. The majority of households are now single or 2-person, so there is less time for food procurement and preparation. Gator and Crane's #WasteLess Market is on a mission to eliminate food waste by designing it out of the grocery store and offering a solution for disposal of all food waste on-site. Our concept lowers the likelihood of consumer food waste by selling mostly bulk goods at prices that are typically 25-40% lower than branded, pre-packaged products.We also sell several types of specialized  food packaging that extends the shelf life of food. Our free, zero waste shopping lists, recipes and meal planning content have the potential to eliminate food waste, save the average customer $500-$3,000/year, 156 hours, and increase healthy meals by 66% on average. Shoppers of #WasteLess Market earn up to $550 in store credit annually for sustainable behaviors like refilling a spice jar or using a cloth bag to package rice and dropping off inedible food waste to our community compost. With a recycling drop off center in the store, #WasteLess Market can offer a zero-waste solution to end food waste for its shoppers through a circular economy model at the local level.

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

Gator and Crane is the shared vision of over 600 locals in New Orleans who participated in longitudinal market Our team has piloted this concept at farmers markets and events. We have over 150 users of our zero-waste meal plan and shopping list. We have a partnership with a local wine store to set up a retail version in an historic corner store sized venue. We have partnerships with recyclers and farmers to responsibly take charge of our supply chain from source to zero-waste recycling.

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

We need assistance with technical challenges like label printing and price computing scales, label printing, marketing to different segments and behind the scenes operations. We're looking for remote participants who can provide tips though a live chat function on our website to give home cooks ideas about how to #WasteLess of their leftovers, ingredients and offer support as consumers work to reduce food waste. The human interaction is important. Food is culture. Join us to #WasteLess!

Tell us about your work experience:

Emily recently moderated a plenary on Food Waste at F2TE 2016. Her team completed Cleantech Open and Propeller accelerator. She is a Delta Entrepreneurship and Starting Bloc fellow. She won three pitch contests in 16 months to raise a portion of seed funding in addition to winning free office space and a year of free legal counsel and a promo video from Cox Cable. Gator and Crane's #WasteLess Market advisors are from Waste Management, Buckminster Fuller Institute, No Waste NOLA and NOCHI.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s on the ground creating impact – it’s existed for over 1 year


Join the conversation:

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Welcome to the Refinement phase Emily! We've added new Refinement questions to your original submission that we'd love for you to answer. Please check out the Refinement Phase Toolkit for instructions on how to answer the new questions and other recommendations we encourage all idea teams to consider in the upcoming weeks.

Refinement Phase Toolkit:

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 09/28" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

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Hi Emily, we updated the link to the Refinement Toolkit. Please use this new link instead:

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