Food waste continues to be a massive issue as urban populations in global cities grow at an exponential rate. Issues with over ordering, under consuming, and poor methods of distribution mean that food is rarely seen by the people who need it, and rarely utilised by the people who have it. In Hong Kong, a food bank and distribution network called Feeding Hong Kong is tackling the issue head on, by “providing a bridge between the food industry and the hungry of Hong Kong, we provide a solution that simultaneously cuts food waste and feeds those most in need.” (Feeding Hong Kong 2009)
Examining Feeding Hong Kongs’ business provides insight into how a not-for-profit company can affect change in a city of roughly 7 million inhabitants. Their approach is effective because it has many avenues of engagement. First and foremost, the initiative aims to connect charities with for-profit business in order to facilitate the movement of surplus goods, mainly food products, but in some cases factory defective goods and old stock. By providing this connection, Feeding Hong Kong facilitates effective relief for resource poor charities, and by extension the communities they serve. As of 2013, the organisation has helped feed some 2700 homeless people in Hong Kong, saving over 10 tonnes of food from being wasted (Lee, 2013). This number continues to rise.
Importantly, Feeding Hong Kong is accessible, and this accessibility is critical to its continuing success. A user friendly, up to date, and resource rich web portal provides connection opportunities for both donors and donees. By providing this service, Feeding Hong Kong is able to seamlessly engage with its community, and the result is a vibrant, active and effective means of administering its services. Adding to this, the resources on the website help to raise awareness and educate the wider community about food waste, hunger, and food banking. This awareness allows individuals and companies to involve themselves appropriately and effectively with Feeding Hong Kong as a not for profit organisation.
Another important aspect of of Feeding Hong Kong’s ‘business’ model is that it follows a multi disciplinary approach to providing hunger and poverty relief for those in need in Hong Kong. As well as connecting donor organisations and charities, the not for profit instigates community outreach programs, such as the Edible Gardens project, a new initiative aimed at transforming Hong Kong’s abundant, unused roof real estate into sustainable community gardens that produce fresh edibles for locals. Alongside Edible Gardens, Feeding Hong Kong has a Chefs in the Community program that pairs professional chefs and partners them with charities to develop their food programs. This additional community outreach is effective in engage the Hongkongese people with those in the community that need their help.
Feeding Hong Kong is a great example of a not for profit organisation turning the problem of food waste into a charitable, community oriented solution. By connecting for profit businesses and charities, Feeding Hong Kong seamlessly facilitates the use and reuse of otherwise wasted food products. Importantly, the company works within existing systems, allowing it to provide an efficient service that is resource effective.
Feeding Hong Kong 2015, Homepage, viewed 24 April 2015, <http://feedinghk.org>
The Global Food Banking Network 2015, Gabrielle Kirstein, Feeding Hong Kong to Speak at the American Chamber of Commerce, Chicago, viewed 26 April 2015 <http://www.foodbanking.org/gabrielle-kirstein-feeding-hong-kong-speak-american-chamber-commerce/>
Feeding Hong Kong 2015, Feeding Hong Kong Overview Presentation, HKCSS – Conference on Food Assistance, 4 September 2013, viewed on 24 April 2015, <http://www.poverty.org.hk/sites/default/files/FeedingHK_130904_0.pdf>
Lee, D 2013, ‘Beating waste and putting food on plates for needy’, South China Morning Post (International Edition), 2 September, viewed 25 April 2015, <http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1301375/beating-waste-and-putting-food-plates-needy>