West End’s young entrepreneur, Monica Davis, has put the very real answer to the world’s food wastage problem at our fingertips.
In a worldwide market space where over one billion dollars of food produced is discarded, Monica’s findings has equated this to a third of the food being produced on the planet. While research on the home-front is a little sketchy at best, a more comprehensive study based on figures from the United States (where they throw away up to 40 per cent of all the food that they produce), paints an alarming story about food wastage. This is where Monica’s newly developed application, Rumbl comes into play.
“I decided to tackle the food wastage issue from the retail perspective. We’re wanting to put a really easy way for suppliers to connect to customers who want their surplus food,” says Monica. “So how Rumbl basically works is if you’re a retailer you can sell your good-to-eat surplus food on the app for a discount and if you’re a customer you can actually browse your local listings, purchase this food and pick it up in store. So what we’re wanting to do is really empower food suppliers and empower food customers to take upon the issue of food waste in their own hands.”
Monica won the Australian Innovation Challenge award in 2015. To concentrate on reaching her target to make this application viable, she has deferred from her undergraduate studies to tackle Rumbl full time. At just 20 years old, the budding entrepreneur started toying with the idea as part of a social entrepreneurial course. Monica has now gained full financial support from Uniquest’s iLabs who are helping her and her team to develop and market Rumbl before the official launch early next year.
“I was studying business and I.T. at UQ but in the middle of this year I deferred because I wanted to work on school time. And university is the best time to start a startup because you’ve got the least commitments now that you will ever have in your life and I am really glad I did because it’s been such a productive couple of months.”
Growing up in Brisbane and working in the food service industry during her first year studying business and I.T. at The University of Queensland, Monica noted first hand the amount of daily wastage.
“I was aware of how much food was being thrown away, and it’s just interesting to put statistics behind what you’ve seen in an average store that you’ve worked at before.
“Retailers are able to sell their good to surplus food for a discount price and they can earn revenue from food that would otherwise be tossed in the trash.”
Capturing a slice of that food wastage is exactly what Monica’s new app is designed to do. Making this happen sees her day-to-day schedule anything but typical.
“Every day’s different, you know, I will work out of a co-working space in the city and I actually spend a lot of time flying back and forth between Brisbane and Melbourne. It’s really hard to say what a typical day looks like.”
Words by Kirk W Wallace