ResQ Club’s innovative location-based mobile and web service app called ResQ enables consumers to find and rescue surplus food within their proximity and offers them a reduced price on the selection of food available. By doing so, ResQ encourages food businesses to drastically reduce their food waste while simultaneously increasing their revenue and creating value to their customers.
Hanken School of Economics
Every meal purchased via ResQ app supports the reduction of food waste and helps urban communities to be more sustainable. Thus, it helps to tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals 11, 12, and 13.
ResQ’s innovation is a compilation of tech, niche targeting, and business model. Throwing food away is unsustainable and bad for business. ResQ encourages restaurants, cafés and grocery stores to sell their surplus food while simultaneously reducing food waste (11, 12) as well as unnecessary emissions caused by food production (13). The ResQ partnership businesses offer consumers sustainable quality food with 50% reduced prices. As businesses’ own real-time calculations of leftover food portions determine their offering on the app, the amount of food waste produced is efficiently minimised. Thanks to ResQ, surplus food doesn’t go to waste but instead is turned into revenue, while concurrently reaching new customers.
Whenever a consumer opens the app, they will see an interactive map with a listing of food businesses within their proximity, and by selecting one of the businesses on the app, all the available surplus items at that location are listed. With only a few clicks, the selected food items can be purchased through the app and picked up from the business – without waiting, as the orders are always ready for pickup. Therefore, by encouraging businesses to reduce food waste, ResQ also encourages consumers to adopt more sustainable consumption behaviour by offering them a convenient way to gain new food experiences and save money.
ResQ’s winning aspiration to create zero food communities inspired them to tackle the problem by addressing it from the very end of the supply chain – by offering their customers an opportunity to buy already existing surplus food. By doing so, ResQ also wanted to provide their partners with an easy and convenient way to sell their excess food.
It all started from ResQ offering their service to buffet restaurants that saw the solution as a good way to keep their regular offering fresh. After a while, ResQ realised this kind of service was applicable to other marketplaces as well and expanded their partner network to cover also cafés, restaurants, and other food businesses. However, according to ResQ’s CEO, Sauli Böhm, their winning aspiration did not only provide inspiration, it still to this day guides every single action of the company:
“Why we exist is about creating zero food waste communities. That’s our 'Why.' And that’s the epicentre of the company and the baseline for all the decisions that we do whether it’s product development or any other initiative that we do. Everything starts from that and needs to be connected to that.”
Sauli also emphasises that ResQ today is an outcome of over 0,5 million hours of work and the massive amount of feedback from both their partners and consumers using the app and that the innovation itself will probably never be ready.
“It’s more about how the innovation emerges continuously,” he sums up.
ResQ has a clear impact on sustainability on a societal, economic and environmental level. By reducing the production of food waste in urban areas, ResQ contributes to the creation of more sustainable cities. ResQ’s mission to create zero food waste communities subsequently reduces the level of emissions released as a by-product of redundant food production and altogether has already amounted to 167 tons of monthly decrease in CO2 emissions. Put to perspective, the same amount of emissions cover approximately 220 flights from Helsinki to New York.
The societal effects of ResQ are both local and global. ResQ’s short-term effects include initiating the change for more sustainable living on both societal and individual level, whereas the long-term effects are more global, as ResQ’s target is to expand their business outside Finland, Germany, and Sweden where it is currently operating, and to foster sustainable behaviour on a wider scale. The increasing number of weekly purchasing users is an evidence of the fact that using ResQ has become a habit and people are in fact acting more sustainably thanks to ResQ.
With already over 1,000 partners and more than 10,000 active app users, ResQ is working towards preventing food waste in restaurants, cafés, and grocery stores. The business idea encourages and educates not only consumers but also the companies in the food industry to adopt more sustainable practices and to consider their impact on the environment while simultaneously boosting their own business.
The innovation benefits both ResQ Club and its business partners. The partner restaurants, cafés, and grocery stores gain extra revenue by selling their surplus food. Simultaneously ResQ benefits from the portions sold through their app due to their 25% commission on actual sales.
“Value propositions for both sides of the marketplace contribute to making ResQ Club a sustainable business,” Sauli emphasises.
Through the ResQ app, the partners attract new customers, increasing their brand visibility. Already more than 1,900 restaurants have registered themselves as partners, and 70% of the application users have found new restaurants using the app. Furthermore, the portions sold through the app have a direct positive impact on business, as selling surplus food through ResQ increases the partners’ revenue by 2-6%.
In 2,5 years, ResQ Club has been able to expand its business successfully to multiple cities in Finland as well as overseas to Sweden and Germany. Altogether, ResQ partners can be found in 30 local communities, 25 of which are in Finland, 12 in Sweden and 2 in Germany. The number of ResQ’s employees increased from 9 to 17 in 2017 and, ResQ Club’s annual turnover nearly doubled from EUR 117,000 in 2016 to EUR 300,000 in 2017. According to one of the largest cleantech accelerators in the Nordic region, Loudspring Plc, the potential market for selling surplus food in Europe is more than 20 billion euros, which indicates great future potential for ResQ’s business as well as its positive impact on SDGs.
ResQ has a prominent impact on society and the environment through the reduction of food waste. Additionally, there are other direct and indirect effects of using the app, and which contribute to SDGs 11, 12 and 13.
SDG 12 aims for responsible production and consumption, to which ResQ contributes by reducing waste generation and encouraging both companies and consumers to adopt more sustainable behaviours. Furthermore, ResQ enables partners to do their part without compromising their business. By selling food that would be wasted, the redundant production of food is avoided, which enables more efficient food production and distribution to feed the soon-to-be 9 billion people on earth.
ResQ also has a true impact on the urban areas it operates in, and as such helps to achieve SDG 11 that promotes sustainable cities and communities by lowering the adverse environmental impact of urban areas. By offering an interactive map with the local restaurants and food businesses that participate in the initiative, ResQ enables consumers to discover and rediscover businesses and strengthen the bonds in the community while also fostering the local economy.
Finally, SDG 13 deals with the climate action, and ResQ supports the reaching of this goal directly by reducing CO2 emissions generated by food waste and by doing so also mitigates climate change. Additionally, ResQ raises awareness related to the effects that food waste has on the environment and the climate change by offering its users interactive information of their positive impact on the reduction of emissions.
Sauli Böhm, CEO
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Business Website: https://www.resq-club.com/
Year Founded: 2015
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
ResQ Club is a Finnish company that connects food businesses with consumers who appreciate eating sustainable quality food at a reduced price. In 2015 established ResQ Club consists of an extensive food business partner network and continuously increasing number of active users in Finland, Sweden, and Germany.