Star Tech: Fresh on Table boosts 
local farm produce

Company aims to boost sustainability through food, by cutting the travel times and distance of produce


Joydeep Sengupta

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Sat 18 Jun 2022, 9:47 PM

Fresh on Table, which is dedicated to promoting and encouraging sustainability, has launched Carbon Emission Calculator for responsible sourcing of local farm produce and ingredients.

Atul Chopra, the founder and CEO of Fresh on Table, has teamed up with some of UAE’s reputed hotels and restaurants to tap into the young nation’s incredible choice of local produce and ingredients.

Chopra, a tech entrepenuer-turned agritech champion has worked with brands such as Atlantis the Palm, One and Only the Palm, Hilton, Rotana, Marriott, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Jumeirah, to name just a few. Fine dining partners include The Maine, Zuma, Roberto’s, Eataly, Alici and Jones the Grocer.

His vision is to boost sustainability through food, by cutting the travel times and distance of produce especially. With this comes greater transparency and traceability, as well as improved freshness and taste.

“The seeds for Fresh on Table were first sown in 2018 in Paris, France. The original concept, developed with mobile operator, Orange, was to connect small chef-owned restaurants to hyper local farms driven by the restaurants’ quest to access fresh, local produce,” said Chopra.

Fresh on Table was invited to roll-out a pilot in the US by Montgomery county and the state of Maryland.

“Encouraged by the UAE’s mission of attaining food security and the consequent number of new farms adapting agri-tech, we began our journey in Dubai in late 2019,” he said.

“Our proposition is simple — keep the source of production and consumption as close as possible to each other,” he explained.

“Leveraging best-in-class technology, our hyper-local model seeks to obviate food miles, deliver fresh, nutritious produce while reducing food waste thereby playing a crucial role in the United Nation’s (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs) mission,” he added.

Maximum nutrition, minimum emission

Chopra cited Fresh on Table’s unique services and how it leverages technology towards the goal of reducing carbon emission, encouraging sustainability and reducing waste through the following actions:

  • Cutting down carbon emissions giving real-time visibility to our HORECA partners via dashboard capability and the first-of-its-kind carbon emission calculator
  • Assisting our partners to meet their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals through constant support
  • Ensuring freshness by retaining high nutritional value of food through reducing the produce journey and harvest on demand/no-storage module
  • Supporting sustainability and food security through promoting partnering farms and spreading awareness
  • Encouraging zero food wastage by completing the sustainability loop
  • Providing technological access to farm partners
  • Product development with farm partners based on the market needs

The startup promotes local farms by giving them direct access to discerning customers, says Chopra.

“We tick all the boxes for on-boarding — certifications, quality checks, consistency, marketing, and credit. Our fleet of IoT-enabled vehicles take care of the last mile delivery,” he said.

“We have made available to our farm partners a first-of-its-kind technology platform to manage their production and sales lifecycle. We share valuable data directly to our farm partners as a vital tool for price trends and crop planning.

“This application is multilingual and has a WhatsApp interface for ease of use,” he added.

“Our platform integrates with buyers’ procurement systems to ensure a seamless end-to-end journey. Our delivery application is built on blockchain and tracks and traces every transaction through its lifecycle — from origin to implementation,” he said.

It’s partner Silal Abu Dhabi has given access to 17,000 farms in the UAE.

The startup promises to deliver four UN SDGs — good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production and climate action.

Local farms are promoted by regular chef visits. They are encouraged to see for themselves, firsthand, the produce that will go in as ingredients to the culinary experience they will creating for their end customers.

Every invoice has a QR code to track and trace the journey of the produce from harvesting to kitchen.

There is a very fair and transparent margin charged for all services including the last-mile logistics.

The boost in local sourcing has encouraged farms to increase their production and consequently make them more competitive.

Calculating the carbon footprints

Carboncare is the latest and most comprehensive global emissions calculator, based on the European Standard EN16258. It was developed over five years with various partners (industry, ETH, Swiss federal authorities). Over 3.5 million effective, realistic, and frequently updated measurements provide the basis for calculations.

“Through our partnership with CarbonCare, we find the carbon emissions of a product which is usually imported from its origin country and then subtract the local actual carbon emissions when you place orders for the same product from our local suppliers. This provides us with the saved carbon emissions for the product.

“This has been integrated with our FoTx platform to help us give you a fairly accurate figure for the contribution you make to reducing carbon dioxide emission every time you choose to order through Fresh on Table,” Chopra said.

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