February 22, 2018 9:40 pm

Online marketplace aims to reduce amount of food wasted in Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Two University of Alberta grads have teamed up to create a website aimed at reducing food waste in Edmonton. As Emily Mertz explains, the site connects food producers with consumers looking to buy surplus food at a discount.

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What started as a school assignment for two University of Alberta students grew into a project they became passionate about after they graduated.

“We were looking into the issue of food waste in Edmonton and that was very, very substantial,” Mursal Khedri said. “Once we dug in… we realized this is a really big issue and little fixes can be done. An online marketplace was something we came up with after discussing with various stakeholders across the city.”

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The website Our Servings is scheduled to launch on March 15.

It serves as a middleman — matching excess or aesthetically imperfect food from producers with people who are interested in buying it at a discount of at least 30 per cent. All the food is in good condition and safe to consume.

“It’s meant for selling surplus foods… meaning fruits and vegetables, any food that has failed the retail test for aesthetic reasons or little slight blemishes,” Khedri said.

“We’re selling that at a discounted rate online and it includes delivery services for customers.”

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The service will be funded through private investors as well as a percentage of the produce sales.

Khedri says Our Servings will benefit producers and consumers and will offer a network to connect supply with demand.

“A lot of these farmers are actually very excited and they’re just waiting for us to launch it. For them, they’re reducing their overheads, they’re helping the environment. They know that the food they’re growing is being fed to people and not just landing in a landfill.

“On a restaurant scale or a supermarket scale, they may have just ordered too much.”

An Edmonton vendor Khedri spoke to said it has about $10,000 worth of food going to the landfill on a weekly basis.

“This is such a systemic problem,” Khedri said. “It’s quite encompassing. It’s everywhere.”

Leading up to the launch, producers interested in taking part can visit the Our Servings Facebook page.

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“On the customer perspective, everyone’s just really excited to reduce their grocery bills and get really good, healthy food — so what if it’s a little bit blemished?

“We just really want families to be eating nutritious food, especially the low-income populations in the city,” Khedri said. “We really want them to be eating more nutritious, more local — helping the farmers in the city as well — we just want, on a family scale, that they’d be eating more nutritious, wholesome servings.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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