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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Gooder is a company that tackles food waste by collecting unused food from businesses and delivering it to those in need, addressing both hunger and environmental issues.
  2. Addressing hunger among the homeless should involve not only providing food but also offering dignity and choices. It is crucial to find creative solutions for funding and to address the issue of food waste.
  3. Food waste has far-reaching negative effects on the environment, poverty, and health, but efforts to address this issue and provide food resources for those in need are crucial for a sustainable and equitable future.
  4. Gooder, a platform created by Jasmine Crowe-Houston, addresses the issue of food waste by connecting excess restaurant food to those in need, highlighting the need for innovative solutions in reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.
  5. Gooder, a for-profit logistics company founded by Jasmine Crowe-Houston, addresses the issue of food waste by finding and delivering edible food to those in need, bridging the gap between excess food and hunger.
  6. By offering businesses a sustainable way to donate surplus food, this for-profit company helps reduce waste, save money, and provide food to those in need while emphasizing the importance of technology in solving environmental and social issues.
  7. Resourcefulness, creativity, and dedication are key ingredients to building a successful company that addresses important issues like hunger.
  8. Gooder's unique approach to food donation and distribution not only helps those in need but also benefits clients through tax credits and a significant return on investment.
  9. Gooder's success in redistributing surplus food is attributed to their strong partnerships with logistics companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, as well as their proactive planning and understanding of health department guidelines.
  10. Gooder Grocery's focus on capturing surplus food and preventing it from going to landfill, along with strategic partnerships and a mission-driven approach, has allowed them to scale nationwide and address food insecurity on a larger scale.
  11. By expanding to more cities, forming partnerships, and implementing legislation, we can reduce food waste by 15% and provide food for 25 million Americans, while prioritizing efficiency and sustainability.
  12. Leveraging technology can effectively reduce food waste and solve hunger, emphasizing the need for new and innovative solutions to address societal issues.

📝 Podcast Summary

Fighting Food Waste and Hunger

There is a significant amount of food waste in the United States, while millions of Americans, including children, struggle with hunger. Roughly 40% of all food produced in the country is thrown away, even though much of it is still edible. Laws at the state and local level make it challenging to redistribute this excess food to those in need. This food waste also contributes to environmental issues, as it ends up rotting away in landfills, producing harmful methane emissions. Recognizing these problems, entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe Houston founded Gooder, a company that works with businesses to collect unused food and deliver it to people who are hungry. This organization aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food insecurity, providing a solution that benefits both the hungry and the environment.

Bringing Dignity and Choice to the Homeless through Restaurant-style Dining

Jasmine Crowe-Houston saw a need to provide dignity and choice to people experiencing homelessness by giving them a restaurant-like dining experience. She organized events where she served soulful dinners accompanied by old school music to 350-500 people at a time. Instead of just offering basic meals, Jasmine allowed them to order appetizers, salads, entrees, side items, and desserts, providing them with a sense of dignity and choice. She faced the challenge of funding these events but found creative solutions, such as ordering food from grocery stores and seeking donations from different groups. This initiative highlights the importance of not just addressing hunger but also considering the dignity and preferences of those in need. Furthermore, it emphasizes the significant issue of food waste in the US, with approximately 40% of consumed food being thrown away each year, equivalent to a staggering 80 billion pounds.

The Devastating Consequences of Food Waste

We waste a tremendous amount of food, from the farm to the fork. Farmers are forced to discard perfectly good produce because of market demand fluctuations, while grocery stores and distribution centers often reject shipments of food for minor reasons like arriving late. Events such as weddings and conferences also contribute to the problem, with excessive amounts of food being prepared and wasted. This excessive food waste not only contributes to methane gas emissions from landfills but also has negative consequences for poverty and health outcomes. Thankfully, there are organizations, soup kitchens, and religious institutions that provide food resources for those in need, but more needs to be done to address this massive issue of food waste and ensure that everyone has access to nutritious meals.

Bridging the Gap: Combating Food Waste and Hunger

There is a significant gap between the amount of food wasted and the number of hungry people in the country. Jasmine Crowe-Houston, while feeding people living on the streets, noticed that even those with food stamps and other resources still struggled to access enough food to feed their families. This realization led her to delve deeper into the issue of food waste and discover that a staggering 40% of food in the country is thrown away. This prompted her to connect the two problems and create Gooder, a platform that redirects excess food from restaurants to those in need. This highlights the need for innovative solutions to bridge the gap between food waste and hunger.

Tackling food waste and hunger through logistics innovation

There is a massive problem with food waste in the United States, while millions of people still struggle with hunger. The emergence of food delivery technology only seems to cater to those who can afford it, neglecting the needs of the have-nots. Jasmine Crowe-Houston recognized this issue and saw it as a logistics problem that needed solving. There is more than enough food to feed everyone, and much of the food that is thrown away is still perfectly good to eat. However, due to fear of litigation and strict sell-by dates, tons of edible food goes to waste every day. By founding Gooder, Jasmine built a logistics company that finds and delivers this wasted food to those in need. It's worth noting that Gooder is a for-profit organization, not a non-profit or a charity.

Reducing Food Waste and Supporting the Community through Innovative Solutions

Businesses often pay to throw away perfectly good food, contributing to environmental issues and wasting valuable resources. Jasmine Crowe-Houston recognized this logistics problem and decided to offer a sustainable solution through her for-profit company. By providing a way for businesses to donate their edible surplus food instead of throwing it away, they can receive tax deductions and reduce excess waste pickups. This not only saves businesses money but also helps the community by providing food to those in need. Furthermore, the company's focus on technology and logistics enables efficient management of the food supply chain, similar to how UPS prioritizes logistics in their operations. This highlights the importance of innovative solutions and technology in addressing environmental and social challenges.

Building a Hunger-Ending Logistics Company through Resourcefulness and Dedication

Jasmine Crowe-Houston started her logistics company by taking advantage of various opportunities and resources available to her. She participated in hackathons, attended office hours of companies and dev agencies, and entered pitch competitions to fund her platform. She even got a clickable prototype built at a hackathon near Georgia Tech's campus and used it to pitch her idea to clients for almost a year. Through her perseverance and honesty with customers, she managed to generate excitement about the idea of ending hunger together. Her company's platform functions like a reverse Uber Eats or Instacart, allowing businesses to easily inventory and donate their food items. They calculate the weight and tax value of the items and have drivers pick them up for delivery to nearby nonprofits. The platform also generates donation letters and a sustainability dashboard to track the impact on CO2 emissions. This takeaway shows how resourcefulness, creativity, and dedication can lead to success in building a company.

Tackling food surplus and hunger through innovative business models and technology.

Gooder operates as a unique business model that addresses food surplus and hunger by charging clients for food pickup and distribution to non-profits. Unlike waste management companies that simply dispose of the food, Gooder ensures it goes to those in need. The pricing structure is based on volume and vehicle type, with options for a certain number of pickups per month. Not only do clients receive tax credits for their donations, but they also experience a four to tenfold return on investment. This highlights a shift in corporate mindset towards sustainability and social responsibility. Gooder's success is attributed to its logistics and technology capabilities, which involve building a network of trucks and vans for transportation.

Effective Distribution Through Partnerships and Efficient Logistics

The success of Gooder's food redistribution model relied heavily on partnerships and efficient logistics. By collaborating with existing logistics companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, Gooder was able to scale up its operations and serve multiple cities in a matter of days. Additionally, Gooder invested time in building a robust network of non-profit organizations that could receive the food donations promptly. They also prioritized understanding the guidelines of each county's health department to ensure food safety. This emphasis on partnerships, logistics, and proactive planning has allowed Gooder to effectively distribute surplus food and be a valuable part of the community.

From Feeding People on the Streets to Nationwide Success: Gooder Grocery's Waste Stream Business Model

Gooder Grocery can sustain and profit from their waste stream business model. During the pandemic, when their main customers like corporate cafeterias and college campuses were closed, they focused on ensuring people had access to food. They collaborated with strategic partners like the NBA and State Farm to address food insecurity in innovative ways. While they initially relied on revenue from their grocery stores and pop-up markets, their primary focus shifted to capturing surplus food and preventing it from going to landfill. As businesses gradually reopened, there is still excess food due to reduced office capacity, which they continue to capture. The success of this model has convinced them that they can scale nationwide and even internationally. Customers who start with them appreciate their mission and stick around. Although the founder may miss the personal interactions from her earlier days of feeding people on the streets, the impact they are making now is much greater. With hundreds and thousands of meals being delivered on a regular basis, their reach has expanded significantly. Currently operating in 34 cities, their plans for the future involve further expansion.

Expanding Partnerships for Food Redistribution and Eliminating Waste

The key to reducing food waste and eliminating food insecurity lies in expansion and partnerships. By expanding to more cities and states, and forming partnerships with businesses and organizations like Sedexo and Magic Johnson's joint venture, there is a greater opportunity to redistribute excess food and provide it to those in need. Legislation, such as in California, New York, and New Jersey, plays a crucial role by making it illegal for businesses to throw away food and instead requiring them to recycle or donate it. The goal is to reduce food waste by 15% in the country, which could provide food for approximately 25 million Americans. With a for-profit approach, the focus on efficiency and sustainability is reinforced, ensuring that the mission of ending food insecurity remains a priority.

Disrupting Philanthropy and Waste Management

Jasmine Crowe-Houston's company is disrupting two industries: philanthropy and waste management. Traditionally, solving issues like hunger and food waste involved charitable donations and sending waste to landfills. However, Crowe-Houston believes there is a better way to address these problems. By leveraging technology, her company aims to reduce food waste and solve hunger more effectively. Although some people have criticized her approach, Crowe-Houston firmly believes in using technology for the greater good. She emphasizes that technology should not only be used for social networking or personal relationships but also to make a positive impact on society. Despite the existence of food pantries and non-profit organizations, people still go to bed hungry, which indicates the need for new and innovative solutions.