30-05-2023 12:59

Waste food becomes quality food

Every year manufacturers throw away 80,000 tonnes of food in Norway, accounting for 3-4% of the total volume of food produced. With Nordea’s support, Plateful will reduce that to a minimum.
REDUCES WASTE: Daniel Skar (left) of Compass Group and Lars-Kristian Leiro of Plateful work together to reduce waste in the food industry.

– The food industry generally grows by 3-4% in a normal year. We can accommodate this growth in a better way by using produce that was previously thrown away, says Lars-Kristian Leiro, CEO of Plateful.  

Less food waste among large manufacturers pays off on many fronts. Food production is accountable for large climate gas emissions, so streamlining the production is an efficient climate initiative. It’s also a financial bonus for the manufacturers who sell what was previously excess produce.

MARKET LEADER: Compass Group is a leading supplier of meal solutions for staff restaurants both in Norway and internationally.

6,000 tonnes of food saved

Lars-Kristian Leiro had worked in the industry for many years before he started his own company in 2017. Through close contact with suppliers and customers, he experienced a need to optimise the supply chain.

– I’ve seen myself how much was thrown away during my time in the industry. I don’t think it’s sustainable to slaughter an animal to then throw away half of it. It’s not ethical or sustainable that so many resources are used without getting the most out of them.

Lars-Kristian Leiro, CEO of Plateful.

PLATEFUL: Lars-Kristian Leiro, CEO of Plateful.

Since 2019 Plateful has saved 6,000 tonnes of food. 

He describes a three-legged value chain of manufacturers, distributors and customers and believes that food waste can potentially be reduced at the first stage.     

– Food waste at the manufacturing stage is raw material that isn’t even considered.  

If a chicken had been too long at the manufacturing stage, it was thrown away. Now Plateful has established a system where the chicken is transported directly from the manufacturer to the customers – in this case Compass Group.

Food is thrown away for many reasons, but usually it has to do with shelf life.     

If a product stays too long at the first stage, the distributor will not accept the product – as it becomes more difficult to sell in time.   

 – But although the product has been at the first stage a bit too long, two thirds of the product may still be usable. That’s why we want to be the link between the manufacturer and the customer.   

On the team they have Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordics, which is the company’s most important bank connection.   

– Plateful is a company that solves a very difficult environmental challenge – food waste, says Maiken Selmar Luhr, who works with growth companies and is the relationship manager for Plateful at Nordea.   

– The company’s main focus to prevent food waste is well in line with Nordea’s explicit goal to support companies that include sustainability as a central part of their business ideas. Nordea has a strong ambition of continuing to offer financial solutions that can help to scale up the company domestically and internationally. Maiken Selmar Luhr, relationship manager for Plateful at Nordea.

Maiken Selmar Luhr is the relationship manager for Plateful at Nordea.

NORDEA: Maiken Selmar Luhr is the relationship manager for Plateful at Nordea.

Fakta: Dette er Plateful

Plateful startet i 2017, da under navnet Verdimat.

De ønsker å gjøre det enklere å få omsatt overskuddsvarer fra i hovedsak industrien.

Det er hovedsakelig storhusholdningen i form av kantiner og restauranter som er kundene, men de leverer også til dagligvarebransjen.

Siden 2019 har de reddet over 6000 tonn med mat. I 2022 var tallet på cirka 1600 tonn.

Les mer om Plateful her

Making excess produce useable

Plateful’s key market is the food service industry, but they also deliver to the consumer goods industry. They not only help to shorten the way from the manufacturer to the customer, but have also established own product lines with products made from excess produce.  

The food service industry can easily make lasagne of meat from one manufacturer, cheese from another and vegetables from a third.  

– And guanciola, Italian bacon often used in pasta dishes, is an example of a product which is now imported to Norway. No one makes it here, because pork cheeks are not used. Now we have set up a collaboration with a supplier and it’s made locally.  

Plateful ensures healthy and wholesome food for thousands of staff restaurant guests every day. Only six years after the company started (under the former name Verdimat), it is budgeting with a turnover of NOK 140 million in 2023.    

TASTEFUL: Compass Group serves more than 120,000 meals every day. Now they are collaborating with Plateful to reduce food waste in the industry.

- We want to be part of this journey

Compass Group is an important collaboration partner in the food service industry. Compass Group is a leading supplier of meal solutions for staff restaurants in Norway and internationally. Every day they serve more than 120,000 meals in Norway.   

– When we’re as big as we are, we have extra responsibility to lead the way by choosing environmentally friendly solutions that add value for example when it comes to reducing food waste, says Daniel Skar from Compass Group.  

  – For us Plateful really makes a difference. That’s what triggers us - and which I believe also triggers Lars-Kristian Leiro.

He describes the first meeting between the two companies in the following way:  

– We met, they explained the concept and we thought “yes, we want to be part of this journey”, says Daniel Skar and continues:
Many work with food waste, but no one has managed to organise it the way Plateful has.  

Daniel Skar, purchasing manager of Compass Group.

COMPASS GROUP: Daniel Skar, purchasing manager of Compass Group.

How they create value

Compass Group has worked to reduce food waste for several years, but with Plateful on board, they have found someone they can grow with.  

– We have ten great staff restaurant concepts, and Plateful can play a role in each of them as our collaboration grows, says Daniel Skar. 

So what’s the actual value of the collaboration for Compass Group?  

Daniel Skar asks us to visualise a fish. 

– It comes from the sea and must be caught from a boat. The boat needs gasoline, manpower and electricity. On the boat the fish is handled before being brought to shore where it will be prepared further and frozen before it is transported quite a long way – for example from the north of Norway to the south, says Daniel Skar and continues:  

– In the south it’s stored, then it’s handled again and packed and dispatched.   

– That’s a lot of steps. And costly – both financially and environmentally. Especially if we could instead say: We use the excess that has already been produced instead of placing a new order with everything that entails. 

ENJOY: Food that would previously have been thrown away can be served as tasty meals at Compass Group’s staff restaurants.

Growth in difficult times

Lars-Kristian Leiro finds that Plateful is well-established, demand is strong and the various players in the industry work together.  

– But it’s been a long time coming, says Lars-Kristian Leiro and continues:   

– We handle deviations by putting them into system, which is not necessarily that simple. But we managed to double our turnover from 2018 to 2019. The prospects for 2020 were also good, but then came the pandemic.   

With deliveries to the food service industry being a core business area, the pandemic hit hard. But they increasingly turned focus towards the consumer goods industry – and succeeded in growing in the difficult years 2020 and 2021.  

ORGANISED DEVIATIONS: Lars-Kristian Leiro and Daniel Skar see the collaboration as an opportunity to put deviations into system in the industry.

Already benefiting from the collaboration with Nordea

Plateful is powering ahead. Now they are working on developing their sourcing platform to further simplify the dialogue with suppliers. Accordingly, the food’s way to customers will become even shorter.   

– We hope to continue to grow together with Nordea. It’s a unique opportunity for us, says Lars-Kristian Leiro.   

– Nordea became Plateful’s primary bank at the turn of the year when Nordea Startup & Growth solved an increased demand for working capital with an overdraft facility that was 50% guaranteed by EIF (The European Investment Fund), says Maiken Selmar Luhr at Nordea.  

 It’s important for the company in terms of its current growth phase. Lars-Kristian Leiro talks about thorough preparations before the collaboration was formalised.   

  – It’s been a valuable process where we have had to document a lot and go through our concept, figures and forecasts, ideas on further development and our backup plan if things don't go as planned, says the head of Plateful. 

  – That’s something we benefit from. Today we're working with many of the figures that we prepared during this process. They reflect our KPIs and thoughts about how we can develop going forward.