Two Danes Will Help New Yorkers Fight Food Waste and Save Money

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YourLocal founders Kasper K. Nielsen (left) and Sebastian Dueholm (right) started their app in Copenhagen in 2015.

A Danish app designed to sell food that restaurants and food shops would otherwise send to the garbage heap has made its New York debut amid an enthusiastic reception from users and glowing reviews.

YourLocal founders Kasper K. Nielsen and Sebastian Dueholm started their app in Copenhagen in 2015 and today they have more than 150.000 users in the Danish capital. After learning that New York City spends about $180 million annually sending food waste to landfill they decided to expand and launch their successful app across the Atlantic.

Denmark in NY spoke to Nielsen and Dueholm about their American ambitions and how the New Yorkers have responded to their initiative to reduce environmental impact and waste.

DKNY: What is YourLocal and how does it work?
YL: YourLocal is an app that helps users save money and fight food waste with their favourite neighbourhood shops and eateries. On the app, you follow the local businesses you love and get notifications when they have unsold food that would have otherwise been wasted. You buy it straight from the app at a discounted price (50–60% off) and pick it up at the store before closing. YourLocal is a solution that benefits everyone — local residents, neighbourhood businesses, and the environment.

DKNY: Why is New York an interesting place for a start-up like YourLocal?
YL: A third of all food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted so there is a crucial need to minimize waste, especially in Metropolitan cities where there is a constant surplus of leftover food. After reaching a substantial amount of users in Scandinavia, we wanted our next city to be one that could benefit even more from green tech. After learning that New York City spends about $180 million annually sending food waste to landfill, we knew that this was our chance to take action and make a difference.

Reducing food waste in New York City is a big challenge, but we are beginning to see a growing consciousness around the problem that we believe YourLocal can tap into. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has a goal of eliminating all waste being sent to landfills in New York City by 2030. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) recently announced new rules expanding the city’s commercial organic waste separation program, which has come into
effect this month, August 2018. Some larger restaurants, chain restaurants and grocery stores will now be required to put their food waste to beneficial use instead of sending it to landfills where it releases methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change. We believe YourLocal can be a convenient solution for businesses to reduce waste while making a revenue.

DKNY: How have your collaborations and their costumers responded on the initiative?
YL: Users and partnering shops alike have been extremely positive when learning about YourLocal. Based on user feedback, the app is convenient and easy to use, and people are excited about the high value of the items available on the app. Users respond equally positive to receiving great offers from their local shops and fighting food waste at the same time! Our users also focus on the local aspect of the app, and how they can use it to explore new places in their neighborhood.

Store owners, as well as managers and employees in our partnering shops have shown to really be backing the mission of YourLocal. Food related businesses are always thinking about how to eliminate waste in the best possible way. And the fact that YourLocal helps the shop built up a following of users that they can communicate to directly proves very exciting to our shops. As of now, our shops have between 4–700 users just within two months.

DKNY: Why did you choose to start focusing on Williamsburg and Greenpoint? Are there some specifics characteristics of the neighbourhoods that matches the values of Your Local
YL: We chose to start in Williamsburg specifically because it is a community-oriented neighbourhood when it comes to food and drink consumption. It is a hub of freelancers, creatives, eco-conscious millennials, and families whom this very app benefits. When they learn that they can use YourLocal to save money, support their local shops, and fight food waste — it’s a surge of excitement and purpose.

DKNY: What are your ambitions for Your Local in New York?
YL: As of now, the shops on the app are all in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Because YourLocal is a two-sided platform with users and businesses, the need for proximity between the eateries and users are key. As soon as there are enough users on the app, we will expand to other neighborhoods of New York, hoping to be all over the city in the near future.

Katrine Skov Sørensen is the Press and Communications Intern at DenmarkInNY.

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The Official Medium Blog for the Consulate General of Denmark in New York. For all things Danish, #DenmarkInNY.

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