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Re-Plate: Re-plating Surplus Meals

Re-Plate is a nonprofit tech company that matches high quality surplus meals with communities in need...instantly!

Photo of Hooman Yavi
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Re-Plate is a nonprofit tech company that matches surplus high-quality meals with communities in need... instantly!

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Since our launch in January 2016, we have recovered over 120,000 pounds of food for charitable organizations throughout the Bay Area with our unique on-demand transportation system. Our novel approach is economically sustainable: we give our meals free to charitable organizations, and earn an average of $0.40 per meal from our donor-clients. 

Each driver picks up 300-500 lbs of food every day!

We can easily replicate our system in any city that has a high supply of and demand for surplus food. For many of our clients who sometimes spend almost $1 per meal on cleanup costs, our services provide a solution to their waste problem that is even more economically viable than not participating in food recovery. 

Shelters and kitchens Re-Plate healthy and nutritious meals for those in need

The Re-Plate Service is a simple, cost saving solution to our clients’ food waste problem that their employees can feel good about. So not surprisingly, we have seen more than 20% growth each month for seven consecutive months. We also know our method is sustainable, since every single donor of who has ever tried Re-Plate is still with us today.

Donor feel good knowing that the food is going to a better place

We are now looking to implement new solutions for the future, which will complement our current model and accelerates our social impact by tapping into the biggest source of food waste. To close the gap between food waste and food insecurity, we have created an online marketplace for individuals and organizations to "Re-Plate" their excess meals based on their need and location.

Screenshots of the Re-Plate Marketplace (request a beta via our website at re-plate.org)

The Re-Plate Marketplace is a revolutionary web and mobile app that connects individual food donors to individual recipients in real time. A donor can simply post any food on the marketplace and a recipients can claim food based on their need and location, then arrange a time and place to pick it up. The Re-Plate Marketplace will provide everyone with the means to donate their food to whomever they choose, and it will bring awareness to the issues of food waste and food insecurity.

Both of our platforms allow for human-centered experiences that will promote positive social interactions and incentivize more people to take action to prevent food waste and to help feed their community. Food donors will understand the true value of the food that they would otherwise discard and recipients will no longer have to struggle with food insecurity, can nourish their families, and revitalize their communities.

Our eco-friendly cargo trikes are in operation in NYC!

For more information about Re-Plate's story, check out our Medium Article, and follow us on twitter @re-plate #replateyourmeals.

User Research:

After speaking to our donors over the last few months, we have heard the same comment almost unanimously: "we try to be good about ordering just the right amount of food, but sometimes its hard to predict, and so when we have too much, its nice to know that Re-Plate can get the food to someone who needs it." 

This confirmed what our business model already made clear: there is ample demand for the Re-Plate food recovery service. 

How about demand and accessibility for the Re-Plate Marketplace?

Over the course of two weeks, we asked the recipients at shelters and kitchens the following questions:

1- How often do you worry about food? (Options: Daily, Several times per week, Weekly)

2- Do you have access to a refrigerator?

3- Do you have access to a smartphone?

4- Do you have access to a computer?

5- Do you have access to internet?

After speaking with 100 individuals, we obtained the following results:

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We also asked recipients if they felt comfortable asking others for food. Most recipients said that it depends on the situation (how hungry they were at the time, what type of food, who the donor was). However, almost everyone agreed that it would be easier for them to request food if they could do so remotely and anonymously.

User Journey 

Our goal is to provide our donors and recipients with the most seamless experience for donating and receiving surplus food. We constantly strive to improve our platform by testing, gathering feedback, and collaborating with professionals.

Notes from our Marketplace IOS app critique on October 14, 2016
Click image to see staging of our platform 2.0
The Re-Plate Marketplace on the web

For a video demonstration of the Re-Plate Marketplace, watch the two short clips above. Additional screenshots of our platform are available on request.

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

We are currently in the process of beta-testing our marketplace app with the UC Berkeley Food Security Program and the UC Berkeley Campus. We have also experimented with using community fridges around different neighborhoods in an effort to increase accessibility, and would like to explore these opportunities further.

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

Since our inception in January, we have experienced 20% growth each month, and are now launching in NYC. But in order to provide the greatest level of accessibility to both donors and recipients, we need to grow, scale up, sustain, and continue to innovate. With the support of the OpenIDEO community, we can significantly amplify our food recovery efforts.

Tell us about your work experience:

Our core team consists of a passionate group of entrepreneurs with backgrounds in public policy, health, nutrition, food justice, technology, law, environmental economics, and behavioral economics. We also have advisers who specialize in design, programming, and marketing.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s launched and we’re working on gathering more feedback – it’s existed for over 6 months

How would you describe this idea to your grandmother?

It’s like donating food on the classified section of a newspaper, except much faster and free.

[Only for launched ideas] How does your idea differ from what you're already doing?

One Saturday afternoon a grocery store manager outside of our usual coverage area, called and wanted us to recover five pallets of produce. He told us that if we didn't pick it up in less than an hour, they would throw it away. It was heartbreaking because there was nothing we could do. To prevent us from becoming a bottleneck for our own cause, we began developing our online marketplace where anyone can donate and receive food.

How is your idea unique to the space?

The Re-Plate service is unique because the donation process is streamlined, and our recovery model is highly scalable. We provide the most reliable service for our clients, of which 85% are now subscribers. This also allows us to have a consistent, predictable, measurable supply of food for our recipients, thereby preventing them from wasting any of the food that we rescue. Additionally, our marketplace is the only one that allows for donations from any individual or organization.

Who needs to play a role in your idea in order to make it successful?

Anyone who suffers from food insecurity should feel comfortable using our platform. By working with shelters, kitchens, and other nonprofits, we can reach out to the community and educate them about Re-Plate. Donors must be encouraged as well. We are currently working with Cooley LLP to balance safetynets with incentives to provide the safest, most positive interaction for all users. We will also need to build more relationships with design experts and marketing gurus to strengthen our brand.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

Re-Plate’s impact will be measured by the number of successful transactions made on our platform, meals re-plated, pounds of food rescued, carbon footprint, money saved by businesses using the service, and by the satisfaction of our users. We also measure our impact by how often others want to collaborate and partner with us, which we believe to be a good sign that we're doing the right thing.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

We’re going to continue re-plating food and feeding communities in need. With the support of the OpenIDEO community we will be able to allocate more resources towards onboarding new clients through marketing, direct sales, and expanding our operations geographically. We will also continue to improve our web and mobile technology and design to improve accessibility and satisfaction. By focusing on our growth and scalability, we will be able to expand our reach and increase our impact.
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Donor and recipient coordinating a pickup!

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Photo of Lisa
Team

This is a great idea! I imagine places like hospitals, restaurants and supermarkets probably have a lot to offer in terms of a venture such as this. Are the people involved in repackaging etc doing this on a volunteer basis?

Photo of Yvette Velasco
Team

I love this idea! I come from a third world country and would love to see this platform implemented in our community. I would like to ask what happens if demand is greater than the supply of food? Also, how do you maintain the food quality standards to ensure that the food being redistributed is still safe from consumption? Also, aside from leftovers how about partner with retailers who have items that are about to expire and distribute to those in need?

Photo of Ahmed yesuf
Team

good idea. but there is a lot of confusion over it. I want to share one story. there is a huge left over food from  university, and they usually dump it in garbage, where street children, and other needy collect and consume. latter on because of fear of dependency among the street children other poor youth, the university come up with the idea of selling the left over. it contracted out the left over to some individuals in nearby city, who will pay huge money for the university. the contractor collects and sells the left over daily, and  gets rich from the opportunity. after a year other group from university administration come up criticizing it by saying '' every left over is a waste and it should not be served for humans, because of health and moral issues'' then the university stopped selling the left over food, and returned to previous action of dumping it in the garbage.  overcoming such confusion is important.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Ahmed yesuf 
Thank you for sharing the story, it is important that we have discussions about what is going on with the leftover food.
We never sell the food that we recover, it is always donated and creates free meals for those who cannot afford to buy food. But you are right, there is still a lot of confusion over where the food goes and what happens to it. So we try our best to communicate with our donors and recipients about the movement of the food. We find that transparency is essential to a good system.

Photo of Mugambi Neville
Team

The bicycle seems pretty attractive and efficient for short distance deliveries. Good stuff

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Mugambi Neville !

The irony is that most of our clients  (including fortune 500 companies) are only blocks away from homeless shelters and kitchens. The disconnect between the economic classes is very pervasive in major metropolitan areas.

Photo of Michael Inaba-Hill
Team

Awesome idea - having spent some time in 5 star hotels in F&B there is almost always left over food that is incredibly well cooks and prepared with amazing ingredients that go to waste because you need to slightly over cater or guests don't show. Some can be re-used for staff meals but some may not. I think you could tap into the chef/catering/catering school community to help promote the community service but also educate the young food professionals on the commerce of production and re-define what "waste" is. e.g. I once saw a restaurant manager demand that a staff member not eat any excess food and throw it in the bin...the head chef pulled him asside and said - "it's not waste, if someone eats it!" well done, this is really inspiring and a great use of technology to assist you to obtain and deliver but also a great way to humanise the request for help process - I can imagine some people would go hungry because they feel shame to ask for help! All the best Mike (Australia) 

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thanks Michael Inaba-Hill 
You're right, we need to allocate more resources towards tapping into other sources of food waste and doing more community outreach.
I dont know what the law is in Australia, but here in the states we have a federal law that protects food donors from liability (unless grossly negligent). But a lot of businesses dont know that, and like the restaurant manager you mentioned, would rather throw the food away than to donate it. So education and dialogue are important steps towards encouraging new sources of food donation.

Thanks for sharing.
Hooman

Photo of Mehrafza Mirzazad
Team

I love your cargo. It is very sustainable and of course a wonderful idea for NYC's crazy traffic. Is there any cooling system inside the cabin? 
Congrats!

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Mehrafza Mirzazad Thank you! Not yet, our deliveries are typically very fast so there is no need. But could be a possibility if we had to store food for long time. 

Photo of Michael Inaba-Hill
Team

Oh, I'm sure that you could generate power and short term cooling from the bike pedals or simple solar power cells on the top of the cargo unit. Not a large unit but at least cold enough for long enough to get it to your production site (especially for food like chicken). That would be awesome!   

Photo of Evelyn Ihrke
Team

Hooman and crew:
Just noticed this on the BCorporation chat on Twitter... https://www.azavea.com/
They have the analytics structure you may be looking for. 
It would be interesting to HUB together the pressure points and figure logistics from there.
Best,
Evelyn

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Evelyn Ihrke 
Very cool, thank you for sharing! Though we currently use a different platform for logistics, Azavea's data analytics service might be fascinating to try as we grow our geographical reach. 

Photo of Jessie Dong
Team

It is sad to see people wasting food but at the same time there are people suffering from hunger. It is great to see your team are working to fill the gap. There are lots of food are wasted in restaurants, bakeries and households. Thanks to your re-plate idea to save food for people who are desperate for. The only concern is the food safety issue. 

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Jessie Dong for your kind words.

Lots of high quality, nutritious, healthy food is being thrown away on a daily basis. Check out pics of some of the stuff we've recovered on our twitter: https://twitter.com/re_plate/with_replies

There are at least three things we do to make sure that food safety is:
1- Our drivers are trained food handlers
2- Our platform streamlines the donation process so that the food goes from the donors fridge to the recipient's fridge as quickly as possible
3- We ask donors to follow our golden rule of re-plating meals: "dont donate anything you wouldnt eat yourself".

So far this system has worked for us, and with the support of the OpenIDEO community we'll be able to explore new innovations to make sure that safe, nutritious food is being re-plated to feed communities in need.

Photo of Dhananjay Abhang
Team

Hello Hooman, nice idea and especially good in City area where food cooked is always in excess because of various reasons like lifestyle, food habits, etc. Now, to scale this idea you can plan to tie-up with e-commerce companies where they post the excess food available. You will also get logistics support from these companies where they will collect the food and deliver it to your location. From there you can distribute the same to needy people. Also you can incentivize the donors by offering some discount coupon for shopping by tie-ing up with e-commerce companies.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Dhananjay Abhang 
Thank you for sharing some of your ideas. We are currently in the process of finding new partners and figuring out the best way to incentivize donations.
As you said- our service is especially functional in cities. However, as cities grow they are increasingly gentrified, and poverty continues to be pushed outside of major metropolitan areas. Thats why we hope that our P2P marketplace can provide the changing landscape with an alternative way to Re-Plate surplus meals.

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Dhananjay Abhang Great idea! Can you  please elaborate more on discount coupon and linking it to the company? 

Photo of Dhananjay Abhang
Team

Hi Maen Mahfoud,  you can provide list or category of foods that can be repacked to the customers. Also you can create standard packaging material which customer can buy in advance from you. Now to recover the cost of packaging, you can use this space for advertisement. You can tie-up with different brands and offer them some brand awareness service whose products are eco-friendly or you think which category. Brands will get a channel to reach out to customers directly and may they can plan to do personalized marketing as you will have customer database. This way you can earn more revenue. The standard packaging material will help customer to pack food as your standard and it will be easy for e-commerce companies to collect. You can consult e-commerce companies to design standard packaging so that it will be easy for them to carry. This way you can link your model. Now, depending on advertisement tie-up and amount you charge, you can work out discount coupon amount.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Your idea of using packaging as marketing is very cool, we'll have to play around with it further.
We generally try to stay away from packaging unless its reusable, since most of the food that we pick up from our clients is already prepacked (and more packaging is not always the most eco-friendly solution). On the other hand, we could test distributing or selling reusable packaging to donors and recipients on our P2P marketplace in a way that would encourage kinship.

The type of food we generally receive is prepared and ready to eat meals. However, we have already started picking up produce, pantry items, and raw foods as well.

We'd love to collaborate with you further Dhananjay Abhang , Love the ideas!

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Hi Dhananjay Abhang , given your interest in discount coupons, would love your input on our gamification proposal to incentive both donors and rescuers with reward points at Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 10/11: Download a proof-of-concept demonstration today via Kricket app!]  - many thanks! 

Photo of Dhananjay Abhang
Team

Hello Hooman, thank you very much and would be happy to collaborate.

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Great initiative Hooman Yavi  !  Does that mean you are transitioning from a professional food rescue delivery system to a marketplace to link donors and charities/those in need, or will you run both platforms at the same time?  

As you may be aware, we are proposing a carbon footprint friendly and financially sustainable approach through Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 6/10: Walk21HK CityTech Award Winner!]  , where we seek to educate, engage and empower food rescuers through crowdmapping and gamification.  Would love to see if there are ways we can collaborate! 

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Brian Tang Thank you for your comment! Pokemon Go is a brilliant way to incentivize people to recover food. To answer your question, we will be running both platforms. Perhaps we can collaborate on the marketplace piece. While I think this is great way to bring awareness to the issue of food waste, I doubt how effective would it be to make people recover food because the recovery process could be a tedious task. But hey! Never understatement the power of the crowd!  Let's talk. Should I use the email you contacted us on our website? Hooman - feel free to expand here

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thanks Brian Tang 


Just to add to Maen Mahfoud 's points:
We're going to run both platforms at the same time because they are compatible and complementary (think of our food rescue service as a premium to the marketplace). The user video journey above may give you a glimpse into how we envision combining the marketplace with our food rescue service.



Your idea of a Pokemon Go style urban food rescue program is interesting. We have considered similar features in the past, but the gamification of food rescue might interfere with the professionalism, reliability, and efficiency that our clients expect. At the same time, although I really like the concept of incentivizing donations with digital rewards, from my experiences I've learned that food is a delicate issue that requires human-centric solutions that provide long-term solutions to human perceptions of food.



We are, however, very interested to see what insights your project will reveal to the entire zero-waste community. Have you done any interviews with food recipients to see what role they would play in your system? How would the rescuers actually transport the food to recipients?


All the best,

Hooman

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Many thanks Hooman Yavi  and Maen Mahfoud  - as I understand it, your food rescue service is a professional delivery service, not unlike Food Donation Connection.  Your marketplace I think assumes that the food insecure have the means of transportation to collect the food - is that right in your targetting communities?  And how do the donors know that the collectors are worthy (as opposed to cannibalising their sales)?

With Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 10/11: Download a proof-of-concept demonstration today via Kricket app!] , we are empowering the food rescuers to help the food insecure, and the rescuers will have identifiers to give comfort to donors. Food rescuers can walk, cycle or use public or private transport, and delivery directly to beneficiary charities or to drop-off nodes (for further distribution by truck or to process to dehydrate into healthy fruit snacks). 

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Brian Tang 
Your question is very timely because I just uploaded the results of our user research. Accessibility is a priority for us, and we are constantly seeking ways to make our platform and service more accessible. We have an internal system for vetting big name recipients, and our marketplace also incorporates a rating system to deal with the adverse selection issue you bring up. However, in my experiences, this is not what is happening on the ground level. In reality, most of our current recipients are truly in need, and there is absolutely no one who is abusing the generosity of others. If a tiny fraction of our users do intend to use our marketplace to "cannabalize their sales", then that is a sacrifice we are willing to make in order to feed the 1 in 6 who suffer from food scarcity.

Also, although Food Donation Connection is doing great work, there are significant differences between Re-Plate and FDC. I will leave it to you to compare and see what the differences are.

Just a few questions re your submission: Will you be paying your food rescuers? How do your donors know that the recipients are worthy? 

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Good insights to restore faith in humanity! 

On your questions, we do not pay food rescuers but they will "earn" reward points the more they rescue fruit, which can be translated into real world and virtual rewards as part of the gamification (like mentioned by @Dhananjay Abhang  ), so this helps incentivise them. And the taking of the photos of the fruit serves a few purposes, including allowing the ultimate beneficiaries/drop off node to verify the amount of fruit to be received from the donor via the rescuer. Rescuers need to pre-register to collect their reward points, and we plan to have a mutual review system between donors and rescuers (still deciding whether to be private or public like Uber), which will mean we can strike from the system donors and recipients who do not conform to our code of conduct. Hope that helps answer your questions, and if you see our updated entry at Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 10/11: Download a proof-of-concept demonstration today via Kricket app!] , you will see how we incentivise donors too to participate. 

Photo of Jake Petterson
Team

In a world of excess, Re-Plate is an idea that could change people's relationship with their food. Love the idea, and am so excited to see Re-Plate grow. Food insecurity is real, and yet thousands of pounds of food get thrown out. Re-Plate's food donation platform will finally do something about that! Looks like great work.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Jake Petterson ! Welcome to the team!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the Refinement phase Hooman! 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: http://ideo.pn/2du9sf7



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!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Hooman, we updated the link to the Refinement Toolkit. Please use this new link instead! https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/bda1f109-0466-4f8e-9699-1359e406df56.pdf

Photo of Rachel Ratliff
Team

I would love for Re-Plate to be a solution for smaller scale food waste as well. I go to a lot of private events - school potlucks, parties, etc. - where there is excess food. Right now I drive around town looking for homeless encampments to donate the food immediately post-event, and I know there would be a lot of demand for a safer, easier solution. I'm not sure what the revenue model for Re-Plate would be in that case though. 

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Rachel Ratliff !
We would love Re-Plate to be the solution for smaller scale food waste as well. We also think that having a social impact is far more important than generating revenue, and we will do everything we can to fight food waste and hunger.

We hope that by providing a human-centered experience on our marketplace app (in beta), donors such as yourself will be able to coordinate pickups and drop-offs with someone in your community (whether a shelter, program that feeds the homeless, or a struggling family) in a safe and easy way that promotes positive human interactions, and incentivizes donations from small, yet numerous, sources of food (such as school potlucks, parties, private events).

With regards to schools, we're currently in the process of partnering with cities to coordinate food recovery efforts at the K-12 level, where we hope to also do some community outreach and educate students about food waste and insecurity. We believe that changing our perception of food is best done through early childhood education.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again for your comment and support.

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Rachel Ratliff  - thank you for your response. We are excited to hear about another reaffirmation for our marketplace. Please see a demo mock up of how this will look like (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHmVCyqNjY&feature=youtu.be). Also feel free to request our demo app for iOS from our website www.re-plate.org

Photo of Amber Matthews
Team

Do you use biodegradable packaging?

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Amber Matthews 

Hi Amber, you should check out my answer below to Vanessa. In a nutshell, we don't use any packaging. We use the big blue and red bags you see in our first picture to transport the food from donors to shelters, but those bags are easily washable and reusable. Usually the shelter or kitchen washes the bag and gives it back to us immediately after unpacking the food.

Please let me know if that answers your question or if you have any additional ones.

Photo of Amber Matthews
Team

Reusable! Awesome

Photo of Eric Steiner
Team

Awesome idea. I am would like to learn a little about how the volunteer drivers are identified and connected. Have you thought about partnering up with on-demand transportation service providers? Also it seems like you have developed a more efficient cleaning process, any thoughts about embedding that method and process with large scale caters?

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Eric A. 

The answer to both of your questions is YES!
We've been in touch with Lyft for the past few months and have had the idea of partnering with them to provide transportation service for us. However, in big cities like NYC and SF, we are actually looking to implement more sustainable solutions. In NYC we are partnering with MetroSpeedy (a delivery company that uses electric powered bicycles with zero carbon footprint) to do pickups and deliveries for us. We'll continue looking for these options moving forwards but may find it easier to scale by integrating with Lyft or Uber.
With regards to the caterers, we've found that they actually benefit from having us clean after them because we leave very little trace behind, and their clients end up ordering more food when their leftovers are taken to shelters. So the caterers have been enthusiastic about introducing our service to their clients as well. Basically everyone wins when we Re-Plate!

Thanks for the comment and questions, and I hope that answers them.

Photo of Richard Balauro
Team

Replating is the same as take-out fresh leftovers from family celebrations. The interesting part here is doing replating as beautiful as new food that if you support my idea and find possibilities it have a great cycle of good food sharing  https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/ideas/ghef  The business model would be Group-Restaurant-Replate-org/invidual  

Photo of Vanessa Shaw
Team

Hooman Yavi  I am glad to see a passionate inventor seeking to address food waste.  I noticed in your photos that the plates you use are styrofoam, a toxic waste that would be generated.  Do you have plans to integrate compostable or reusable plates for this service?

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Vanessa Shaw Thank you for your support!

Not to pass the buck, but the styrofoam containers you see being used in that picture are not ours, they are provided by a shelter in Berkeley. We only provide the food, which we transport in reusable containers. Although it would be great if the shelter switched over to compostable plates, my guess is that their budget is so limited that this may be all that they can afford.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Hooman!

Congratulations on being one of the forty ideas in the refinement phase. 

What are the biggest challenges/hurdles does Re-plate need to overcome?

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Kate Rushton Thank you for your comment!

One challenge for Re-Plate is to make our solution more human-centric. Although businesses using our solution can get a tax write-off, they rarely mention it. They do this to establish a connection with their fellow human being. We want our product to emphasize that and give both the donor and the recipient the the best experience.

The other challenge is operational, how can we streamline our delivery service and make it seamless for our donors to give, drivers to transport and recipients to receive our food? We do realize that we can’t do this alone we want to partner with more food suppliers, food innovators, large nonprofits and ground logistic companies to achieve sustainability, amplify our impact and make donating food a no-brainer!

Photo of Daniel
Team

Keep up the good work!

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Daniel!

Photo of Mehrafza Mirzazad
Team

Dear Re-Plate team,
I really enjoy this idea. Congrats on being one of the forty ideas!
How do you reduce the waste of single-use plastic/ paper packages? 
Good luck!

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Mehrafza Mirzazad Thank you for your comment. Our transport bags are not single use they get cleaned at the recipients kitchens and brought back to our drivers while unloading.  That being said, we are still looking for better transport solutions that keep food more stable, easier to clean, and water proof. Given that our food is mostly in trays, bowls or boxes, we perhaps can create a tool kit for our drivers down the line to make transportation safe, seamless and environmentally friendly.

Photo of bobby
Team

After reading about the Re-Plate I am loving the idea. I think it is safe, easy, reliable, and beneficial to our community. This idea is safe for several reasons. The first is where the food is coming from. The food is coming from a known business supplier that is trusted and respected. This means the food will be fresh and quality. These big business that have catered food everyday will not have to worry about over ordering food. With Re-Plate these companies can be giving back to the community as well as not adding to the food wasted problem in our country. The fact that 356 million pounds of good edible food is thrown away every single day in the united states is disgraceful. When 1-6 people are going hungry that food can be put to good use. The only problem that I have with the safe aspect is making sure that all food is not contaminated in any way because that is an easy way to lose support. This business is easy and reliable for both the giving and resaving end. On the giving side it is simple because thy simply don’t have to do anything. If they relies they have extra food, it is simply one phone call away from being picked up and given to someone in need. Since these big corporations are buying this food every single day, it gives Re-Plate a reliable source of stock. The Flow is also a very simple and dynamic process. Once there is an established place or a group that can take most of the food it is as simple as taking it to that one location. To make this more reliable an app could help this and make it much easy. The app could have two sides, the producer and consumer. The business with extra food would be the producers. If at any time they have extra food a simple click on the app could have someone there to pick it up as soon as possible. As a consumer you could put in your home address and have food delivered to your house or to a local meeting spot where people can gather. Every day you could check the app to see real pictures of the food and to see what your options are. Those are some of the ideas I had to improve this idea. I love this and think that it has great potential. I look forward to seeing this in working order soon because I believe this could change the world.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Thank you Bobby!

The amount of healthy, safe, nutritious food that is wasted everyday is appalling, and we will do everything we can to "Re-Plate" it instead.
We are experimenting not only with technological solutions to food waste and insecurity, but also with human-centered solutions that will change how we perceive food, and enabling us to share surplus with our communities in a kinship model.

Thanks again, and please let us know if you have any question or other feedback.

Photo of Ryan
Team

Re-Plate
Summary: Wasted food is brought to businesses for reserving or can be bought directly from the patron giving out the wasted food.
This program has many benefits that make it a very ideal program. It keeps consumers from wasting what they won’t eat. It then re-purposes the food into newer and cheaper meals for the public. This program also has a large area of operation proving that it works without much question.
The problem with this program is sanitation. During the life cycle of the food from waste to re-plate, there is a point where the food can be tampered with. The food can be poisoned or be altered in a way that isn’t lethal but could be harmful.
In the system presented by Re-Plate, the space to be worried about is the transition from donor to market. The system starts with someone having left over food. That food is then donated to Re-Plate to be packaged and stored. It is during this time that the tampering of food can occur. Next, the food can be bought at the market or delivered to a person or business that requests that meal or food type. The result is a continuous cycle of wasted food being repurposed over and over again. The closest to expired food is also used first, this way the food never goes bad before consumption.
My recommendation is that record of donors, if not already being done, be taken from now on. This would allow an investigation, should one occur, narrow the results down to the correct convict. This is not an ideal fix but one that will work as a placeholder.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Ryan,

Thank you for your support, I'm glad you see the potential in Re-Plate. A few clarifications:

- We do not bring the food to businesses. We match the surplus food from businesses to local shelters, kitchens, and food banks, where it feeds the 1 in 6 who suffer from food insecurity. 

- We do not store food, we only match it. Our algorithms allow us to streamline the pickup and delivery process such that the food spends very little time between fridges. As a result, we have been able to feed 100,000 people in the last 9 months without a single person being harmed. Our rule for donating food is "never donate anything you would not eat yourself."

- Our drivers are trained food handlers, and they will not accept any food that they suspect to be harmful to recipients. All of the recipient organizations we work with only hire professional food handlers as well.

-  We are currently working with our outside counsel (Cooley LLP) to draft a privacy policy, terms of use, and terms of service that will allow us to maintain information regarding donors, drivers, and recipients without inhibiting the accessibility of our platform.

- None of the surplus food that we rescue is ever sold, it is always donated.


Also, a comments regarding your suggestion:

If any donor ever intentionally tried to harm someone, or was grossly negligent enough to harm someone, then we would have the ability to trace the food back directly to that donor and hold them responsible. However, this is not a reality, but rather an unfounded fear. It is estimated that 8,000 children under the age of five die from hunger related illnesses every day. Among other things, food insecurity causes violent conflicts, wars, and mass human migration.

Having access to food is a privilege, but it should be a right. Thank you again for supporting us in our efforts to fight food waste and insecurity. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Hooman, thank you for telling us about Re-Plate. Would you tell me more about your 'unique on-demand transportation system' and how it works? I understand from your website - http://www.re-plate.org/ - that you use volunteer drivers. 

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Hi Kate Rushton 
Just to add to what Maen already posted below:
As an impact driven company, we're not only conscious of our ability to solve the food waste and food insecurity problems, but we are also conscious of our own carbon footprint. That's why we work diligently to optimize the routes of our drivers, and we keep a track of the miles they drive, and include that information in our impact reports.
We are also now launching our services in NYC, and are in the process of developing a partnership with MetroSpeedy. MetroSpeedy uses a transportation service that leaves behind 0 carbon footprint, and we would be proud to work with them moving forwards.

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Hi Kate Rushton - Thank you for your comment! Re-Plate drivers are paid and trained food handlers. While we tried to rely on volunteers initially, we wanted a streamlined, reliable, and professional system hence, all our drivers are getting paid. OpenIDEO - Hooman  will upload few screenshots of our iOS shortly.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Thank you for the clarification! We look forward to seeing the screenshots. 

Photo of Maen Mahfoud
Team

Kate Rushton You got it! Please let us know if you have any more questions.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Hooman, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Hooman Yavi
Team

Here is the link to our video:
https://vimeo.com/180519395