RIYADH: The growth of the restaurant industry has led to a significant amount of food waste at the end of the day, posing a challenge for restaurant owners.
A group of young Saudi entrepreneurs have set up an app called Barakah to help prevent food waste by creating a medium for restaurants to tell consumers about deals on cooked meals.
Rabah Habiss, one of app’s co-founders, said: “Barakah is a Saudi start-up that aims to harness innovation and social awareness to tackle food waste in restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and grocery stores by offering a discount on their surplus goods through an innovative mobile app in real-time.”
The app helps companies increase their revenue and enables them and their customers to take part in the global movement against food waste.
“What sparked this idea is that we identified an ongoing problem in the food service industry; fresh consumable food being thrown away. This is food that consumers can enjoy, guilt-free, and food that restaurants can still sell all while contributing to reducing our carbon footprint," Habiss said.
The startup founders, Abdulaziz bin Saud, Munira Almuammar, Rabah Habiss, were driven to create Barakah by a commitment to sustainability and a desire to address the widespread and systemic problem of food waste.
“We did market research and found out that 40 percent of all food is wasted. In monetary terms, this amounts to $1.2 trillion globally and SR40 billion in Saudi Arabia. Another significant factor that influenced the initiative was our Islamic teachings, which stress the value of preserving food rather than discarding it.”
Barakah has an impact that goes beyond financial savings and increased revenue; it fosters a sense of community and environmental stewardship, making it simple for both businesses and individuals to be more effective and sustainable.
The app began operations in selected zones in Jeddah this month, with many local restaurants partnering up with the app, such as COZ, Biscotti Amna Bakery, Broots, Meraki, and more.
The app will be scaling out across the Kingdom in the next few months, aiming to cover major cities in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2022.
“We target both businesses and consumers. For businesses, we work with restaurants, bakeries, cafes, hotels, buffets and grocery stores to put their surplus on the map, generating an untapped source of revenue for our vendors. For consumers, our app appeals to value discerning and eco-conscious customers,” Habiss added.