14 May Sharing Economy Reaches Food: Startups Based on Collaborative Networks
The Sharing economy, which began with startups like Airbnb (room and board) or Zipcar (cars), which innovated the physical exchange of services by connecting consumers, is reaching food. More and more companies are creating collaborative marketplaces for the exchange of food products, both promoting a collaborative consumption model through peer-to-peer shareable food networks. Some of these innovative projects also address challenges such as food waste or meet social problems in local communities. Here are some innovative food companies and organizations embracing the Sharing Economy model:
- Casserole Club. This is a charitable online project based in the United Kingdom that connects people to share extra portions of home cooked food with others in their area who are not always able to cook for themselves or need a hot meal. As defined by the BBC, it is “an alternative to the traditional meals on wheels service for elderly people”. Here is a video about the social work of this community.
- Growington. This is a self-sustaining food network. Through an online platform, home fruit and vegetable growers can share with others the produce that they don’t need or are happy to offer.
- Cookening. Founded in France, this start up connects people and cultures worldwide through food. Diners can share home-cooked meals as Cédric Giorgim, founder of Cookening, explains in the video below.
- GrowUp. Founded via Kickstarter in 2013, this British startup was created to “build sustainable commercial urban farms growing food for local markets”. They created the The GrowUp Box, which is a small-scale agricultural production unit, built from a disused shipping container and using Aquaponics to grow up vegetables quickly. They are supplying their products to local restaurants and, as they explain in this blog post at Virgin.com, aim to “bring aquaponic urban farming to London and making it scale”, as a way to contribute to environmental and social challenges.
- Feastly. Currently available in San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C. Feastly is a marketplace to connect adventurous eaters with passionate cooks, amateur or professional chefs. Cooks can publish lists of food that they plan to cook on Feastly’s website and invite diners looking for a meal to buy a seat at their table. Feastly acts as an intermediary for which it charges a fee. Noah Karesh, Co-Founder of Feastly, talks about it in the following video, an episode of Turn & Burn.
- Foodsharing. This German site allows individuals, retailers, farmers or restaurants to share food they are not going to use before it becomes damaged, contributing to the reduction of food waste. Here is a video (spoken in German) presenting the project.
- Kithchensurfing. Created in the USA, this startup also connects chefs with dinners looking for specific meals through an online platform in which users can specify the number of guests, their budget, and preferences and find out the best option within a network of chefs who present their menus.