Food waste warrior wins

Katy Barfield has been named a winner in the Business and Entrepreneur category at the  AFR 100 Women of Influence Awards for being a serial innovator and Australia’s leading food waste warrior with a proven ability to rapidly scale organisations with a social conscience. Barfield has worked relentlessly over the past 14 years to address the environmental, economic and social impacts of edible food sent to landfill.

Most recently, Barfield has developed Australia’s first commercial online marketplace for quality surplus food, Yume. It is estimated that a massive 4.1 million tonnes of food still goes to waste annually in the commercial food sector in Australia. This is waste before food reaches the home.

Yume enables food suppliers, such as manufacturers, primary producers and importers, to sell their quality surplus products at a discount online to over 2500 commercial buyers in the food service industry such as caterers, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and event centres.

READ MORE: Challenges abound for food waste solutions

“It is a great honour to receive this recognition, a testament to the importance of the work we are doing at Yume. We thank AFR, Qantas, Sodexo, Korn Ferry and the incredible panel of Judges for increasing awareness that there is a solution for commercial food industry waste in Australia,” said Barfield, founder and CEO, Yume.

Already, Yume – which works with hundreds of leading food manufacturers, such as Kellogg’s and Mondelez and food service giants like Sodexo and Accor Hotels – has sold over 1,200,000kg of quality surplus food, returning $4.5 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers.

In doing so, the award-winning social enterprise – one of only two companies globally using technology to offer an innovative market for surplus food – has saved an estimated 84 million litres of embodied water and prevented 2,442 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released.

Barfield added, “We’re urgently calling on all food manufacturers and primary producers to join Yume, so that we can help prevent this food, which takes time, money and valuable resources to grow, pick, pack and distribute, from going to waste.”

Selected from a record number of nominations from around Australia, this year’s 100 Women of Influence have made a significant impact across 10 categories: arts, culture and sport; board and management; business and entrepreneur; diversity and inclusion; global; innovation; local and regional; public policy; social enterprise and not-for-profit; and young leader.

Michael Stutchbury, editor-in-chief of the Financial Review, says selecting the category winners and overall winner was challenging.

“The calibre of this year’s entrants in the 2019 Women of Influence awards was extremely high, and it was hard enough to choose the top 100.”