Suez buys stake in Australian food repurposing venture Yume

In mid-August 2021, SUEZ Australia & New Zealand announced its acquisition of a 20 per cent equity stake in Yume Food, a digital marketplace for surplus food. SUEZ sees the acquisition as part of its investment in the circular economy.

Yume Food procures, re-sells and redistributes quality surplus food from farms, packing sheds, processors, restaurants and retailers via its online platform. It works closely with farmers and manufacturers to understand their issues around surplus food, and provides a simple, streamlined way for them to on-sell or donate excess produce and other food goods that would otherwise go to waste.

Yume deploys innovative technology to streamline and simplify clearance processes, increasing the likelihood that high-quality foods get redistributed speedily and delivering returns to businesses.

Yume was founded by Katy Barfield, a veteran of the food rescue and redistribution field, in 2016.

Shaping a sustainable environment

SUEZ CEO Mark Venhoek said the companies’ synergies made it an easy investment decision.

“At SUEZ ANZ, our purpose is shaping a sustainable environment now and one way we demonstrate that is through a commitment to the circular economy,” he said following the announcement.

“It makes perfect business sense for us to support an organisation that shares that ethos, challenging the way we look at surplus food and diverting it from landfill.

“This equity investment will leverage our extensive network of customers to bring together food suppliers with food buyers,” Venhoek said.
“The result will be better outcomes for quality surplus products that would otherwise go to waste, in turn, benefiting the environment and the economy.”

In April 2021, SUEZ merged with another waste company, Veolia.

Combating food waste

Barfield welcomed SUEZ’s investment, which she said will help Yume to help redistribute more surplus food, thereby helping to reduce the vast amount of food waste Australia produces.

“Each year in Australia, we throw away an incredible 7.3 million tonnes of food … Fifty-five per cent of this occurs in the commercial food sector,” she said.

“I’m thrilled that SUEZ is bringing its global expertise in waste and resource management to Yume, and the time is now to make sustainable practice, common practice.”

Yume’s work with the food and beverage sector has prevented almost three million kilograms of quality surplus food from being wasted and has returned more than $8.4 million to Australian growers, manufacturers and businesses since the company’s inception.

Lead image: Katy Barfield, CEO of Yume Food and Mark Venhoek, CEO of Suez, following the Suez-Yume partnership announcement. Credit: Yume Food