The Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) stated that “Food waste is one of the biggest waste streams in Singapore and the amount of food waste generated has grown by around 20% over the last 10 years. In 2019, Singapore generated around 744 million kg of food waste. That is equivalent to 2 bowls of rice per person per day, or around 51,000 double decker buses.” (MSE, 2023 It added that, “Food waste makes up about half of the average 1.5kg of waste disposed of by each household in Singapore daily. Of which, more than half of household food waste can be prevented, with rice, noodles and bread being the most commonly wasted food items.” (MSE, 2023) (see “Towards Zero Waste”).
With this in mind, you and your friend, who are both final year students in SUSS, decide to establish a business focusing on reducing food waste on expiring and expired foodstuff, such as processed and pre-packaged foodstuff, and canned foodstuff; however, perishables such as vegetables and fruits are excluded for practical reasons. Both of you believe that against the backdrop of high inflationary pressures, some consumers may consider buying and consuming foodstuff that may be closed to expired date (e.g., buying canned food that is 2 months prior to the marked “Best Before Date”).
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The initial business idea is to set up various collection points in the HDB neighbourhood markets and shopping centres where there is high consumer footfall. At the collection points, “sellers” will drop off their recently expired and soon to be expired packaged and canned food, which will then be assessed before being paid a predetermined amount by cash or supermarket shopping vouchers. Long expired foodstuff (e.g., more than 3 months) or badly damaged foodstuff will be rejected for reasons of hygiene and food safety. The foodstuff collected will be brought back to a central warehouse for sorting, coding, pricing and uploading to a cloud- based inventory management system, which will be integrated to an e-commerce website. The general public will be able to shop and buy these competitively priced “soon-to-be- expired” foodstuffs by visiting the business’ e-commerce website, pay and arrange for delivery as in any online grocery-shopping website would provide.
Each of you will commit $15,000 as seed capital to set up the business, but without a proven track record and business experience, obtaining bank loans and equity financing to fund your business would not be possible during the initial start-up phase. Therefore, given that this is a relatively new idea and that both of you are inexperienced in running a distribution business, both of you decide to appraise and test the business idea using a Validation Board before plunging into the new venture. After all, both of you want to make sure that the business idea is viable before committing time and money to it.
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