The surprising truth about food-waste and how to reduce it

Are you tired of hearing about food waste without concrete solutions to help fix it? Do you want to read about innovators turning problems into solutions?

I’ve spoken with Charlotte Aschim, co-founder of TotalCtrl and self-described as a blue haired engineer with a passion for innovation and knowledge. After working with inventory management in the retail industry, Charlotte experienced first-hand the time-consuming process of keeping track with expiry dates of products and the large amounts of food-waste generated in the sector. According to FAO roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted.

Who is TotalCtrl?

“TotalCtrl helps grocery stores eliminate food waste through a software that tracks expiration dates.”

TotalCtrl was launched based on their own experience and frustration in an industry wasting an enormous amount of money, time, and resources, Charlotte explains.

The problem

“During my studies (Master in land management) I worked as a lock manager in a grocery store. As part of my job I had to use 30 minutes every night looking for food that had or was about to expire. This routine often ended up with two carts full of edible food that we had to throw away. 

Food waste is expensive for grocery providers. 40% of the global food waste comes from consumer-facing businesses such as retail grocers, the global retail industry loses about 10 % of their income due to food waste and a grocery stores spend an average 8-12 hours on food waste management per week.”

TotalCtrl_Software
The solution

“The main reason for food waste in grocery stores is lack of critical information about their inventory, such as best-by and expiration dates. Our product is a software for inventory management that provides a digitalized overview of products close to expiry date and that speaks with existing systems. TotalCtrl’s heatmap solutions provides real-time data about expiration dates & helps customers get control over their inventory faster, more efficient and smarter than ever before.

Not only does this secure efficiency in inventory management, it also allows retail stores to reduce food-waste by including campaigns for products that are close to expiry and allow communication with charities and others that want to collect the food.”

How would you explain TotalCtrl in 5 words?
“The Tableau for food waste” (for the non-tech savvy tablau is a software company)
The team

TotalCtrl was started up in December 2017 by Charlotte and her co-founder Ingrid Østby, and their first product was launched in May 2018. TotalCtrl has grown from 2 to 15 people in less than a year and have global ambitions, Charlotte explains.

My main inspiration has to be knowing that we are building something that will have a huge positive impact on the planet, people and business.”

The 3 key milestones in your journey so far?
  • “Aided Norway’s second largest digital grocer in reducing their food waste and therefore gain competive advantage.
  • Successfully deployed two technological offerings.
  • TotalCtrl is now a top global digital retail innovation company and one of Europe’s most inspiring food waste changemakers.”
The 3 main ways TotalCtrl contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals?

“- SDG 12.3: Responsible production and consumption: TotalCtrl can help to eliminate food waste throughout the value chain by improving inventory management.

– SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities: Reducing food waste at the manufacturing and retail levels is an important way to reduce the per capita environmental impact caused by food waste in cities.

– SDG 2: Zero Hunger: It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.”

Where do you see TotalCtrl in 3-5 years? 

“TotalCtrl will be a successful commercial company and be recognized as the leading digital food waste reduction company in the world.”

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