Business example: Tackling food waste, one GRIM vegetable at a time

(Text by GRIM)

GRIM is a Copenhagen based start-up that fights food waste by feeding surplus and ‘ugly’ produce back into the food chain. GRIM means ‘ugly’ in Danish, and the company sources high quality produce that may be discarded due to its appearance, helping to build a more effective food supply chain.

By taking a primary production-centred approach to food waste reduction, GRIM sources fruits and vegetables directly from organic farms and delivers them to customers’ doors in form of a food box subscription for lower price than similar products in the marketplace. The company also supplies GRIM produce to food businesses that are interested in making their own sourcing processes more transparent and sustainable.

Grim founders: CEO Petra Kaukua and CPO Carolin Schiemer. Picture: Maria Sega

The team of 4 is led by Petra Kaukua (Finland) and Carolin Schiemer (Germany), who met during their studies in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Business at Copenhagen Business School.

The two foreign ladies are already making waves in one of Denmark’s most traditional industries: despite the company’s young age, which has been founded in early 2018, they have already secured an extensive network of Danish farmers as well as a growing customer base around Copenhagen.

In the beginning it was a challenge to onboard farmers, but now our efforts are paying off.

CPO Carolin Schiemer, GRIM

“We have very happy farmers who are gladly using GRIM as a means to sell unwanted produce and finally earn an income on what would normally not make it to consumers”, elaborates CPO Carolin. “On the other hand, we experience a great demand of people from all over Denmark who want to sign up, as well as food businesses getting in touch with us. GRIM seems to be a solution that’s been missing in the market so far.”

The vision of GRIM is to create a new understanding of edibility. Petra, who is CEO of GRIM, adds: “We will have to critically question the food system as a whole, not just blame a certain group or part of the food value chain for occurring waste.”

It’s a question of who has the power to dictate what is edible and what is not.

CEO Petra Kaukua, GRIM

“We identified that supermarkets are a major contributor to this beauty standard issue, which GRIM is challenging.”

In early 2019, the team plans to expand its food box delivery service to the rest of Denmark. Future plans also involve the creation of a digital marketplace that matches food industry demand with supply as a means to achieve scalable, borderless impact in the fight against food waste.

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Grim has been doing deliveries for 5 months, during which 1200 boxes, or about 7 tonnes of fruits and vegetables have been delivered. If business continues as until now, nearly 17 tonnes of edible food would be saved annually from being wasted. The company plans to expand from consumer deliveries to also catering for businesses such as restaurants or juice makers. Their goal is to deliver 1000 boxes every week in a year’s time.

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