As much as 40% of all food produced each year does not reach human consumption, with economic, environmental and social costs estimated at $2.6 trillion.
There are many social, cultural, and even technological reasons for these staggering statistics, but we’ve also seen a number of startups come forward proposing ways to solve the food waste problem. . Last year, Choco achieved the coveted unicorn status with software that digitizes supplier and restaurant ordering, supply his chain and communication processes. Elsewhere, there are companies offering AI-powered smart forecasts to help retailers optimize inventory replenishment, while others create markets for selling surplus or defective produce. building. Some companies are even trying to turn food waste into food containers.
Meanwhile, another fledgling startup called Kanpla is focused on reducing food waste in a very specific industry: canteens.
Founded in Denmark in 2019, Kanpla initially targeted school cafeterias, offering software for parents to pre-order food for their children (in Denmark, children under 13 are debit card cannot be used). The amount and type of food you prepare. Today, the company targets eateries of all kinds, with paying customers including shipping giant Maersk and Danish beer company Carlsberg. And industrial canteen providers such as Coor and Cheval Blanc serve over 230 canteens across the Nordics.
Kanpla says its software was used in about 1,500 canteens in 2022, and expects that number to triple this year as it expands to more European markets. To prepare for this growth, the company announced today that it has raised €2.2 million ($2.4 million) in a seed round of funding.
The Kanpla platform has two core elements. For the kitchen, Kanpla offers what it calls an “operating system” for managing the entire canteen from a PC or mobile device. This includes creating digital menus, supporting different payment types, collecting and presenting sales data, and more. This enables businesses to understand which foods sell best, stock up on the right types of ingredients, and minimize produce that can be wasted.
On the “diner” side, users can access a mobile or web app to browse menus and order meals. This means your food can be waiting when you arrive at the diner.
Besides, the Kanpla platform has special features to deal with food waste.
For example, kitchens and canteens can sell surplus food from lunch or buffet menus to guests as takeout. Simply list available food quantities and prices using the admin dashboard and a communication will be sent to each Campra diner’s app.
Kanpla also has a food waste registry feature, currently in beta, that aggregates data such as how many people enter the cafeteria and how much food is wasted by category (such as in-production or leftover buffet food). This forces the kitchen to weigh food before throwing it away.
dining room only
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Kanpla’s product is its very narrow focus on canteens. This is what Peter Bæch, his CEO and co-founder of Kanpla, said was simply due to his own experience.
“The idea of targeting the canteen industry came from our experiences with local canteens,” Bæch explained to TechCrunch. “We’ve seen first-hand the canteens that throw away tons of food at the end of the day. Think about spending half your lunch break waiting in line. These inconveniences have greatly delayed digitization.” And finding an industry with forecasting problems, limited tools for managing guest relations, and highly manual processes for printing and billing has us diving into pain. These insights marked the beginning of our journey to digitize this industry.”
While canteens undoubtedly share many of the same pain points as other eateries, each presents its own set of challenges and opportunities that require different approaches from a technology perspective.
“Canteens are distinct from cafés and restaurants, offering a unique opportunity to connect with customers as regulars return every day,” continues Bæch. “Furthermore, the menu changes daily and payments are often made through hybrid approaches such as cards, bills and payroll deductions, adding to the complexity and challenges.”
Kanpla’s seed round was led by Dutch-based VC HenQ, with participation from a handful of angel investors. The company said it plans to use the new capital injection to expand beyond its native Denmark into the UK, Norway and the Netherlands in 2023, with plans to enter the US and other European markets the following year. .
Denmark has seen a number of sizable gains over the years, with expense management software provider Pleo hitting a valuation of $4.7 billion a year ago, while local neobank Lunar hit a valuation of over $2 billion last year. I have created a technology company. And, of course, Zendesk, which was acquired by a private equity firm in June for $10 billion.
HenQ partner Jan Andriessen believes Kanpla could pave a similar path to Zendesk by tapping into what initially seemed like a niche.
“At first, the canteen industry may seem murky, but it’s a big market with huge potential,” Andriessen said in a statement. “Many B2B software products are flourishing in seemingly obscure markets. Zendesk, one of Denmark’s largest tech companies, was founded before customer success software was a distinct term. and that’s why it’s the type of B2B business we’re excited to support.”