Marios Pafitis: Fooderloo deals with food waste while helping businesses save money

Fooderloo is a revolutionary app designed to deal with the issue of food waste while at the same time help businesses save money. Here, one of the app’s three Co-founders and CTO, Marios Pafitis, explains how the students came up with the pioneering idea and reveals plans for new exciting features in the near future.

You have founded a new app, Fooderloo, which aims to help reduce food wastage and save money. Can you explain what it is about?

Fooderloo is a revolutionary app designed to combat food wastage and help businesses save money. Our platform connects restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, vegetable markets, wholesalers, and other entities facing food waste issues, with consumers eager to purchase perfectly edible food nearing its expiration date at discounted prices.

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Countless edible products are needlessly discarded due to minor imperfections or their proximity to expiration dates. This unnecessary waste results in significant financial losses for businesses, which often hesitate to sell these items to consumers out of concern for their brand reputation.

Fooderloo addresses this problem by offering a win-win solution. Businesses have the potential to recoup all of their sunk costs and generate revenue that would otherwise have been lost, while consumers gain access to high-quality food at significantly reduced prices. In an age of rising costs, Fooderloo not only helps businesses mitigate financial losses but also provides consumers with affordable options, contributing to a more sustainable and economically efficient food ecosystem.

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Is the app addressed to just Cypriots?

Initially, Fooderloo is tailored for the Cypriot market, as Cyprus ranks among the EU countries with the highest per capita food waste. However, our app is also intended for other markets, and we have plans to expand into these regions in the coming years.

On your website, there is a special section for businesses. What exactly does Fooderloo offer businesses?

Businesses can leverage Fooderloo's services to make products nearing their expiration dates available to consumers. These products can be sold individually or bundled into mystery boxes, providing businesses with the opportunity to boost their revenue by offering surplus or nearly expired items at discounted prices, thus preventing wastage.

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Moreover, this approach can act as an alternative marketing strategy for businesses, drawing in more customers through the appeal of discounted prices and showcasing their commitment to reducing food waste.

Finally, businesses can utilise our reports detailing the amount of food waste they've prevented, which can be incorporated into their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. This enables businesses to transparently showcase their efforts in combating food waste and their commitment to sustainability, enhancing their corporate reputation and credibility in the eyes of stakeholders.

How did you and your fellow co-founders come up with this idea?

We came up with the idea for Fooderloo after witnessing the widespread issue of food wastage first-hand. Every day, we encountered cases where bakeries, supermarkets, and buffet-style providers were discarding perfectly edible food. Recognising the urgency of addressing this problem, we embarked on a journey to explore various solutions.

Through our research, we discovered that a significant portion of food waste stems from businesses inaccurately estimating their production needs, resulting in surplus food being thrown away. Simultaneously, we recognised the growing need for affordable food options, particularly among those experiencing hunger or facing budget constraints.

As students ourselves, we empathised with the struggle of having limited budgets for food expenses. It became evident that a solution addressing both the excessive food waste generated by businesses and the need for affordable food options was necessary.

Thus, we conceived Fooderloo as a comprehensive solution to tackle these intertwined problems, bridging the gap between surplus food and hungry consumers while promoting sustainability and affordability in the food industry.

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Are there plans to expand the app with more features?

Certainly, we are currently working on expanding the app with new features to further enhance its functionality. One of our upcoming additions includes a donation feature, allowing users to contribute to helping those in need. Additionally, we are developing a recommendation system for customers to personalise their experience and make more informed purchasing decisions.

Furthermore, we are incorporating data analysis and reporting tools for business owners, leveraging machine learning technology to provide valuable insights into their operations and customer behaviour. These enhancements aim to optimise the app experience for all users and empower businesses to reach a wider customer base effectively.

How easy did you find it to start up the business? Was there bureaucracy? Sufficient support?

Starting a business in Cyprus is relatively straightforward, but it involves navigating through several bureaucratic procedures and can become costly at certain stages. Tasks such as acquiring a name, registering the company, and opening bank accounts are essential but can be time-consuming. Nonetheless, this process serves as a valuable learning experience, requiring us to manage various aspects including finances, legal matters, development, sales, marketing, and outreach activities.

Fortunately, we are a strong and diverse co-founding team, consisting of Alexandros Varianos, Rafael Makrigiorgis, and myself (Marios Pafitis). Together, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver results by working diligently, learning continuously, and confronting challenges head-on. Despite the hurdles, the journey is immensely rewarding as we are committed to serving those in need of affordable meals and striving for a brighter, greener future for our planet.

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What advice would you offer someone thinking of starting up their own business in Cyprus?

Embarking on the journey of starting your own business in Cyprus requires dedication and perseverance. Initially, it may feel like you're investing significant time and money without immediate recognition or rewards. However, the journey is immensely valuable, not only for the tangible achievements but also for the invaluable experience gained along the way. You'll acquire a wealth of knowledge and skills throughout the process.

Furthermore, Cyprus is currently witnessing a burgeoning startup ecosystem, offering more opportunities than ever before. With the presence of numerous startup accelerators and funding options, the entrepreneurial landscape is ripe for new innovative ventures. However, it's important to exercise patience, particularly when navigating through the bureaucratic procedures involved in setting up a business.

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