Hong Kong food-rescue venture saves unsold food from landfills

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

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A food rescue concept is saving unsold food from landfills one mystery basket at a time in Hong Kong.

Launched in collaboration with online luxury goods flash-sale company OnTheList, Phenix is a mobile app that connects F&B outlets and consumers to ‘rescue’ unsold food at discount prices of up to 70-per-cent off.

The concept was founded in France and its launch in Hong Kong is in partnership with OnTheList. One service of Phenix curates mystery baskets filled with assorted goodies like fruits, bread, or cheeses, which would otherwise be thrown out at the end of the day’s trading. Customers can check out and purchase mystery baskets available in their location and then visit the store to pick up their orders.

An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide each year, one-third of which is produced for human consumption, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 

When food rots in a landfill, it produces huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The production of all uneaten food accounts for an estimated 8 per cent of GHG globally each year.

In a densely populated city like Hong Kong, food accounts for a third of all solid waste – 68 per cent of it from households. Each year, residents throw an estimated 71kg of food per person.

Since its launch last year, the food rescue app has helped save 7000kg of food from landfills, an equivalent of 32,000kg of CO2 emissions. This year, it has pledged to save ten times more food – amounting to 69,000kg. 

According to Anne-Claire Baraudt, country manager of Phenix HK,  the app makes it easier to reduce food waste. Customers purchasing a single basket can help reduce the strain on overwhelmed landfills and minimise their carbon footprint.

“We are passionate about helping businesses, and consumers reduce their food waste footprint,” she said.

“Thanks to the support from our partners, we are thrilled to announce our new Phenix Pledge and play an even bigger role in the food rescue game in our city.”

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.