The Digital Food Brigade wants to reduce food waste


The Digital Food Brigade wants to reduce food waste

Foodbanks Netherlands, Truffelz (PostNL subsidiary), Dirk van den Broek, and Deloitte have joined forces to combat food waste and achieve a fairer distribution of fresh and healthy food.

In the Netherlands, almost 2 billion kilos of food is wasted every year in the food chain1, part of which in supermarkets. At the same time, the number of foodbank customers continues to increase due to rising inflation and gas prices2. Both are worrying societal trends. So, what if we could connect these two worlds by using the fresh food that is now being destroyed to provide for the less fortunate?
This is what the Digital Food Brigade (DFB) aspires to: reduce food waste by transporting the food surplus from supermarkets to a place with high demand. Since there is a shortage of fresh and healthy products at the Foodbank, the DFB focuses on those kinds of products – for example vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Because fresh and healthy products are important to everyone. Every day.

Joint Pilot

The DFB is a collaboration between four parties (Dirk van den Broek, Truffelz – PostNL’s subsidiary platform that focuses on sustainable logistics in the food sector, the Foodbank and Deloitte), which have worked with shared ambition to realize the concept. Deloitte uses the expertise of its employees through the Deloitte Impact Foundation to find solutions for a large number of societal challenges. For Deloitte, combating food waste is an important example of such a challenge. After thorough preparation, in which each party contributed from its knowledge domain, a 6-week pilot was started in Amsterdam in February 2022. This pilot examined how the DFB could work in practice.
During these weeks, a PostNL delivery person drove past 17 Dirk van den Broek branches in Amsterdam, four times a week, to pick up the desired products that are approaching the best-before date and deliver them to the distribution center of the Foodbank. Here, the products were sorted by Foodbank volunteers and fairly distributed to the various distribution points, before making their way to the foodbank customers. Ultimately, ~2500kg of beautiful, fresh products was saved from destruction in the pilot and instead distributed where it is extra welcome.

Next steps

In addition to achieving this wonderful result, much was learned about the possible future of the DFB. Despite the positive impact, the current model is unfortunately not yet balanced in terms of costs. That is why the parties intend to explore new directions in the follow-up process. This will examine both improving the current concept, for example by means of nighttime transport or a more efficient logistics design, and looking at new solutions.
All in all, we are not only proud of the results, but also of the courage and entrepreneurship of all participating parties to jointly take on major societal challenges.

Spokesperson: Voedselbanken Amsterdam
Joep Wijffels – Manager Voedselwerving


1.Monitor Voedselverspilling Update 2009-2018
2.Foodbanks Netherlands, 2022

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