In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.

At a glance

Founder: Michal Garvey

Business: Foodprint

Founded: 2018 / 2019

HQ: Auckland

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Foodprint is a food rescue app. We partner with local eateries that have surplus and imperfect food that they list on the app for a discount. Customers receive push notifications from their favourite eateries, purchase within the app and go in-store to collect before closing. Using Foodprint allows consumers to support local businesses, keep good food from being wasted, prevent greenhouse gas emissions and save money all at the same time!

There is nothing wrong with the food and it could be on the app due to a number of reasons including slow days, bad weather, regulars working from home, a best-before date approaching or a cancelled catering order.

Food waste accounts for up to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions meaning it has significant impacts on climate change. It’s widely accepted that one-third of the food that’s produced for human consumption is wasted and reducing food waste has been identified by global think tank, Project Drawdown to be the number one action we can take to fight the climate crisis.

In both a cost of living and climate crisis, there is simply no good reason to be wasting food. Foodprint makes it simple for both food retailers and consumers to stop food from going to waste.

Foodprint currently operates in the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Nelson and Canterbury regions. From November they’ll also be heading to the Bay of Plenty.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

I’ve always had an interest in our food systems and sustainable food, especially the impact growing food has on the environment and in turn the impact the environment has on our ability to grow food. I made the decision as a teenager to stop eating meat to reduce my personal impact on the planet. In my early 20’s I worked in hospitality jobs where throwing food out was part of the norm which never sat well with me. It’s fair to say that my friends and flatmates ate quite well at that time. Fast forward a few years and I worked for a global meal kit service while in London and that brought conversations around food waste back onto my agenda, particularly while working on a large scale food rescue project. This experience combined with seeing similar apps popping up across Europe inspired me to return home to Aotearoa in 2018 to start Foodprint.

What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?

Aotearoa has incredible support networks for founders, though it can be really tricky to navigate when you’re first starting out. Following people on LinkedIn and attending networking events in the early days was so helpful for me and connections I made through those events was how I found out about the accelerator programmes I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in. 

First up in 2019, the Sustainable Business Network ran a six week programme called the Good Food Boost. I was actually initially disqualified from entering as I wasn’t quite in market yet, but they let me pitch anyway and I was one of four businesses chosen.

In 2020 I took part in Sprout. Given that Foodprint had only been in market for around six months when the pandemic hit our shores, having a weekly mentoring session was a lifeline to get through the roller coaster of a year that was. I initially went into the programme looking for help to scale across Aotearoa, but it quickly turned into survival with hospitality being our main customers and one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Then in 2021, I did the Creative HQ, Climate Response Accelerator which allowed me to focus on what was needed to grow the business. The last two years have been about putting the learnings from that programme into practice while continuing to iterate and learn with each new region.

There are so many great resources online, I’m particularly enjoying Brianne West’s Business, But Better at the moment – there are free online resources and short form podcasts. 

If you are in a position of looking for a mentor, there’s no harm in shopping around, getting to know the person first and really understanding the value that they can add to you and your business. At the moment, I have a few people I go to for different types of advice. There is one main person who I had the benefit of getting to know in a professional context for about a year, where we’ve built trust and she’s got to know my business organically before going to her for advice. We don’t have any form of formal agreement, other than for her to tell me if I’ve pushed the limits and it’s very ad-hoc. Getting external advice is incredibly helpful, but it’s also important to trust your instinct about what’s best for you and the business. If the advice isn’t feeling right, I highly recommend sitting on it, questioning it and getting another opinion on it.


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