Coop & KITRO – a successful cooperation to reduce food waste

In Switzerland, more than 2 million tons of food end up in the garbage bin rather than on the plate every year; 300 kilograms per capita. KITRO, a Swiss-based startup that participated in Kickstart 2017, has developed a technology to change this – and has successfully tested it with one of Switzerland’s leading retailers. Here is their collaboration story:  

by William Downey, KITRO

For us at KITRO, participating in Kickstart was for many reasons an exciting opportunity. The program caters to multiple industries through its specific verticals, both for startups and partners. We had (of course!) done our research prior to the acceleration and knew that, as a FoodTech startup, Coop could be a partner with highly interesting collaboration opportunities for us. Advantageous to us, Coop has a motivation to be part of Kickstart as well and has been partnering with the program since the very beginning in order to get first access to promising startups and to pilot products that could add value to their current services and strategies.

We started our Kickstart journey in September 2017: We met the Kickstart team, got to know the program and were introduced to the partners. After 11 weeks of hard work and intense negotiations, we were excited to announce that we’d reached our intended goal: a pilot project with Coop.

KITRO co-founder Naomi MacKenzie pitching at Kickstart 2017.

Half a year later, in summer 2018, we measured and monitored the food that was thrown away in three Coop restaurants in Basel. Within three months, a reduction of avoidable food waste by up to 37% was achieved, and we were able to show the growing potential of solutions tackling food waste with one of Switzerland’s main food distributors.

Martin Wasserfallen, Head of Services and Product Management, and Marcel Schildt, Project Manager of Gastronomy at Coop, made the pilot as smooth as possible, and we appreciate their continuous support as we explore opportunities to continue working together in the future, on a larger scale. “The pilot phase with KITRO showed considerable potential in terms of food waste reduction, which we will now pursue further”, Martin Wasserfallen stated, “the open and fresh collaboration worked smoothly and the whole KITRO team showed a great commitment to Coop Gastronomy.”

The KITRO technology.

Christina Senn-Jakobsen, Vertical Lead Food & Retail Tech at Kickstart, said: “What started out as a Proof of Concept during our 2017 program, has proven its value to both Kitro and Coop. The project  is also a success for our Planet Earth where food waste is a neglected topic, in spite of its significant negative impact on climate change. We are proud of both KITRO and Coop!”

The whole KITRO team is excited to work with such leaders in the industry that are actively pushing to make sustainable changes. Everyone has waste but not everyone takes action to address it, so we were excited that one of the biggest players in the food and beverage industry in Switzerland signed to measure. Coop’s efforts in terms of sustainability reach beyond the tackling of food waste – in case you want to find out more, check out their initiative “Taten statt Worte” (“Actions, not words” in English). If you want to learn more about KITRO’s food waste management technology, check us out here.

Fotos: Philippe Rossier, Ringier / KITRO