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Hello Julie,

Your work is very interesting to me as it pertains to the pressing issue of food waste. Essentially your idea is taking a very large problem and turning it into something people can come together over. It is known and also restated in your idea that bread is one of the biggest contributors to the problem of food waste. Since bread has such a short shelf life it is important that the bread either gets consumed or redistributed to companies like yours.

You mention that approximately 44% of all bakery products go to waste. This makes me wonder out of that percentage how much of it is useful to you, and if Ale is the only thing you can get out of bread. Even though your idea primarily focuses on the repurposing of bread, it would be interesting to brainstorm and come up with products that could be created with the rest of the leftover bakery products. I understand that you have been experimenting with this product. This makes me wonder what kind of structure Toast Ale is revolving around and how it could be improved for maximum efficiency and ease. I’m interested in knowing if the brewery is strictly focused on toast ale or if it is also brewing other ales to help with the bottom line of the company.

Reading the idea I did not come across anything about the bread getting from point A to point B. When I am reading into something I always have transportation in the back of my mind because it is an expensive part of any business. In terms of transportation it is unclear if there is a structure in place. I imagine you would either have a truck that went store to store or each store would bring you the bread that has been sitting on the shelf for an excess period of time.

It seems as though the next step of this product is to expand locally and internationally. You talk about expanding to the United States and other countries, would you carry out a test in each country before you opened a Toast Ale store? When you do expand to the United States would you be building a brewery just for toast ale or would you be partnering with a preexisting company who is already step up and brewing ales?

Your idea seems to be well thought out and popular in the areas you have been experimenting in. Overall I love the idea, this is a very unique answer to a very real problem. Best of wishes and I hope to see a Toast Ale brewery here in the U.S. very soon.

Respectfully, Thomas


Thomas commented on Sprout

Hello Stephen,

I think this is a great idea that could help major cities and the people who reside in them. It would allow people to obtain healthy food at a discounted price through a simple process. Sprout also has the opportunity to help farmers sell food that would otherwise go to waste. It is helpful that there is a phone app that goes along with the service. The app will help people discover what food is at different pods while giving users nutritional facts about the different foods. The biggest problem I see with this service is the transportation of food between the farms/stores and the pods. I think transportation might be an issue because farms are usually located a good distance outside cities making for a great distance to drop off donated or discounted food. Instead of the food coming from farms it might be more feasible for the majority of food to come from grocery stores within the city. This would keep the cost of transportation down because the food is already located in the city. The next problem I see is once the food makes it to the Pods what happens if the food doesn’t sell or if it just goes bad? I am interested in knowing at what point if any the food becomes free and if there is a plan for the food if it has already gone bad. Based on your pictures it looks like your idea is based around open pods which makes me ask the question of what happens to the food at night if it doesn’t sell? The last problem I see is the pricing of the food and how you are going to determine the price of each food item on the pod. If you keep the prices low then you can focus on lower income families being your primary customer but the prices need to stay high enough to be able to pay for transportation and the employee working the pod. I think you should test run your idea on a small scale like a college campus or small city to see if it interests people. People should show interest because it is centered on helping them out. Not only is the food brought closer to their neighborhoods but it is also at a discounted price. You have a great idea and it will be interesting to see what the future will bring to Sprout.

Respectfully, Thomas

Hello Food Shift,

It blows my mind to think that such a great idea isn’t put into use more than it is. This solution isn’t the answer to everything but it does help cut down on food waste while being equally helpful for our society, environment and economy like the post says. It’s amazing to think that unlike most restaurants once food enters this restaurant it doesn’t go to waste. Food that the customers throw out can simply be composted so essentially there is no waste. Even though it is not related to the subject of wasting food it is key that this idea involves on-the-job training to those who are out of work. Even when someone who is unemployed finds a job it usually requires skills they simply don’t have. One thing that I think would be a good addition is if there is food at the end of the night that is left unsold it should be distributed amongst the employees. Since the DC Central Kitchen is doing very well if the Alameda kitchen just follows its role model it should be just as successful. It seems like you have the backing to complete this project and if you asked around I am sure you would find some willing sponsors to get the plan going. If done correctly I think this could be the start to a chain of restaurants that could financially support themselves and its employees. This could start with just one restaurant but in no time you would find that it would be an example for other restaurants around the world. Even though restaurants are only a percentage of the total food waste it’s a step in the right direction. Not only does Food Shift cut down on food waste it also helps the community.

Respectfully, Thomas