Using technology for good

3,600 tonnes of food waste is sent to landfill on a daily basis. While bulk food donations have become more common, scalable and on-demand logistical support are critical to ensuring timely delivery of these food items to those in need.

Enhancing Hong Kong’s food support services

FOOD-CO is a centralised technology platform for food support services in Hong Kong, run by St. James’ Settlement and supported by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) Fund.

The platform connects food outlets and individuals wishing to donate surplus food with pre-approved food-support NGOs. Food donations are processed and made available to individuals in need through an interactive map. The platform also helps to match individuals with volunteering opportunities at food assistance organisations.

Identifying opportunity gaps

Since launching in 2016, FOOD-CO has identified several key challenges in further improving the food-support sector in Hong Kong:

  • 3,600 tonnes of food waste was disposed to landfill on a daily basis in 2016, but the sector needs to know which entities along the supply chain they should target to raise large-scale food donations, and approach them directly.
  • Bulk food surplus donations have been more common than anticipated, however scalable and on-demand logistical support including warehouse and transport is critical to ensuring timely delivery of food items to those in need. 
  • Small- and medium-sized operators are well placed to provide neighbourhood food support services; however, 54% of those reported the lack of a stable pool of volunteers has been one of their main operational difficulties.
  • Holistic impact measurement will be helpful for service development and funders’ support; however, there has been a lack of empirical evidence on the role of food assistance services in combating food security and poverty.

PwC’s involvement

PwC's role is to assist FOOD-CO and SIE Fund in making sure the intermediary platform is complementing current food support services and not overburdening any existing platforms or players. We do this by acting as an independent assessor, conducting stakeholder interviews and research to assess the effectiveness of the initiative and identify improvements to make the platform more efficient, robust and sustainable.

Based on our findings, innovative solutions have been developed to address the above challenges, securing further funding from SIE Fund for FOOD-CO 2.0. These include e-coupons for hot meals, co-sharing warehouse space, research on the supply chain of food surplus, an industry-wide advocacy campaign, and longitudinal research on the effectiveness of food support services as a poverty alleviation measure.

Get involved or find out more about FOOD-CO.

Contact us

Catherine Tsui

Catherine Tsui

Associate Director, PwC Hong Kong

Tel: +[852] 2289 2566

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