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Do you know that every time you skip picking up carrots, radishes or any other veggies because they look 'too big', or 'funny', you are indirectly contributing to food wastage?
Normally these 'ugly' veggies are left lonely on the shopping carts till they are whisked away before probably ending up as food waste.
However, a UAE start-up is now looking to save such ‘ugly’ surplus produce from the landfills, and provide them to price and sustainability-conscious consumers across the country. EroeGo, the brainchild of Daniel Solomon, is a food tech company that works with local farmers and fruit and vegetable importers to sell ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables to consumers at a 50 per cent discount on subscription basis.
Solomon says people generally tend to ignore such veggies when shopping, even though there is enough scientific evidence to prove that imperfect-looking produce may contain the same amount of nutrients or even more than their 'prettier-looking' counterparts, they’re still ignored in the market.
According to nutritionists, the very thing that makes them unappealing to grocery shoppers is what might cause them to have more antioxidants, phenolic compounds, and resveratrol.
EroeGo was born after Solomon, who hails from Nigeria, realised the amount of food waste in the country was a severe issue. “Whenever I would travel back home to Nigeria, people would always ask for money for food. Here in Dubai, the scene is very different. I would go for brunch and see lots of food getting wasted,” he explained.
Solomon who has been in Dubai for over a decade, said: "I completed my higher education in the UK. When I visited Dubai for the first time, I fell in love with the city. I realised there are immense opportunities here and decided to move.”
After working for a major company and a start-up, Solomon decided to his education and love for technology to good use with this start up. “I was born into a family of entrepreneurs. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to merge technology with entrepreneurial skill,” he added.
"I thought there has to be some way to bring my love for technology and concern for this huge social issue together,” he said. That is how EroeGo was born. “We are a platform to eradicate food wastage,” Solomon added.
He explained that most 'ugly' fruits and vegetables usually get disposed of at the farm or sorting- level itself.
Consumers can choose a box of fruit or vegetables that’ll suit their needs and dietary requirements. They order the container online on https://www.eroego.com/, and EroeGo associates pack the produce and deliver the package of quality, sustainable groceries with minimal to no omissions, where ever possible.
Every box delivered, EroeGo says would also provide meals for two people facing hunger. “The boxes are delivered every one or two weeks,” he said. A small box contains up to ten types of vegetables and five types of seasonal fruits. “Seasonality is a huge aspect of our delivery service. We want people to enjoy nutritious produce at a good price,” Solomon added.
The website also provides a few add-ons, including eggs and coffee. A vegetable box consisting of ten types of veggies costs Dh50 for a small package, Dh63 for a bigger box and Dh98 for a large container.
Fruits cost slightly more – Dh69 for a small box, Dh100 for a medium-sized box and Dh177 for a large one.
According to Dubai Carbon, the UAE ranks among the world’s top nations for per capita waste generation. Roughly 38 per cent of the food prepared daily in the emirate is wasted, which jumps to around 60 per cent during Ramadan. The decomposition process of food waste emits methane gas, which is reportedly 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide. Reports by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations indicate that approximately one-third of the world’s food is being wasted, equivalent to about 1.3 billion tonnes of food annually, lamented Solomon.
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