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A Pokemon Go model for urban fruit rescue to promote healthy snacking while gamifying fighting food waste especially for children

Scaling rescued fruit snack initiative ZacSnax by using GPS and sharing economy to foster children healthy snacking and fighting food waste

Photo of Brian Tang
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The original simple idea of ZacSnax was to buy discounted ripe or imperfect fruit from Hong Kong wet markets and supermarkets before they are thrown away, and to make nutritious fruit snacks for kids who can’t afford snacks, or otherwise would have bought unhealthy snacks. This involves slicing the fruit into thin slices, leaving them in dehydrators overnight, and in the morning, packaging them for delivery to low-income communities.

In late 2015, ZacSnax was launched with the invaluable support of a small grant from Kids4Kids Action For A Cause Impact Project Challenge.

Then we met with Foodlink, an awesome Hong Kong-based food rescue charity, who kindly offered to provide rescued fruit from hotels and caterers for ZacSnax. This really allowed us to multiply our impact of addressing Hong Kong's food waste and landfill issues, the latter of which capacity will be exhausted by 2018

Parents love it because ZacSnax is all natural, with no preservatives, no additives and no colouring. And best of all, kids love the taste of the healthy snacks made from rescued fruit! In the meantime, the children also learn more about imperfect fruit and feel empowered by being able to do something productive to fight food waste.

ZacSnax's young founder has since been recognised by receiving the Most Innovative Award for the AIA Emerging Entrepreneurs Challenge and Kids4Kids Young Change Makers Award, as well as a grant from UNLtd Hong Kong

We hope to create a sustainable and scalable social enterprise by facilitating the selling of the healthy rescued fruit snacks to those who can afford it to subsidise those who cannot (like Tom's Shoes), and at the same time raise awareness of food waste and healthy snacking amongst youth.

For example, we have been considering ridesharing partnerships (with eg, UberGoGo Van) for low cost deliveries to distributed processing locations which may be franchised.

We were also inspired after recently meeting with one of the leaders of flood disaster mapping project PetaJakarta, and are exploring establishing a GPS-based crowdsourcing and city-wide mapping platform to facilitate transparency of availability and citizen collection and delivery of such fruit from wet markets, green groceries and supermarkets (like a Pokemon Go map to rescue fruit). Such a system could be replicated in all urban environments (especially those with smart city initiatives) and adapted for other types of food rescue. 

We sincerely welcome all input, support and collaboration on how we can grow and scale ZacSnax across Hong Kong, as well as beyond in other cities ! 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

ZacSnax is originally the idea of a 9 year old boy called... Zac! This hopefully helps inspire both adults and children to find out more about the world’s problems, and think about creative solutions to solve them. And Pokemon Go demonstrates that individuals can be incentivized to walk around the city ! Please help empower our youth and nurture their ideas!

Tell us about your work experience:

Am Zac's Dad and editor. Corporate finance lawyer interested in social & environmental finance - now lead 2 EdTech startups, incl

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Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Brian! Thank you for highlighting ZacSnax! It is nice to see the next generation doing some really good things. In terms of expansion I assume the best locations would be densely populated cities with a high youth population, e.g. Manila. Is this what you have in mind? For the logistics, would some sort of motorised bike be an option? I am wondering if some ideas for the logistics side of things could come from these posts:

Photo of Brian Tang

Many thanks Kate Rushton - OLIO - The Food Sharing Revolution sounds amazing, as do food rescue initiatives OzHarvest  and FeedTruck . We are lucky in Hong Kong to also have some great food rescue charities such as Foodlink Foundation, One Meal at a Time , Feeding Hong Kong and Food Angel, but they tend to still be pretty low tech.

Our idea is to try to scale the existing logistical efforts through the crowd - Pokemon Go has shown the potential of gamification and GPS technology in incentivising individuals to walk around their cities.

Critically, we also want to engage kids to not only learn about the issues of food waste and child poverty, but be empowered to do something about it by assisting with the fruit delivery, and also benefit from healthy snacking !

Photo of Marcos Szrajer

Very nice ! This kind of tech surely will promote people to get out of home using gamefication and specially social rewards.

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