‘Yindii’ lets Bangkok order unsold food. We talked to the woman behind its anti-waste mission.

Instead of ordering specific or freshly cooked food, there’s an app selling leftover and unsold food to help reduce waste from businesses. Because sellers often don’t know what they’ll have at the end of the day, Yindii users can choose a restaurant based on the type of cuisine they want and wait for a surprise box. 

We spoke to Mahima Rajangam, the 32-year-old cofounder who leads Yindii’s 15-strong team, to learn more about why people should better manage food waste.

Why is it important to control our food waste? 

Food waste is not limited to just restaurants or bakeries; there’s a huge food waste problem in the supermarket sector, as well as the hotels. When we talk about food waste — say, if a piece of donut was going to waste — there’s a lot more that goes into that donut. There’s the materials used to make the box, the electricity, transport, and freezing to name a few. It’s just not the food that’s wasted. A lot of food around the world also doesn’t make it to the table, and there are many people starving. 

Prices for food are hitting a record high right now, too. On the consumer side, it’s getting more difficult to get access to food. Food waste is a 10% contributor to greenhouse gas and food waste pollution is four times more than the airline industry.

Mahima Rajangam

How did the app get started?

I was working for Lazada as part of the retention marketing team for three years before moving to Eatigo in 2018 for another three years. When I met Louis-Alban Batard-Dupre, he was a solo founder and had already been working on Yindii, back then the app was at a super early stage. I thought it was a perfect fit for me considering my experience. Louis was volunteering with Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) and saw that there’s food waste on one side and people starving on the other. He realized there needed to be a way beyond NGOs. After research he learned that some companies in the West were already doing it, and we realized that Southeast Asia didn’t have this solution. 

How does it help the F&B industry?

On top of helping reduce the food waste problem, Yindii is also a great platform to discover new food through the surprise boxes. We did a survey and seven out of 10 app users said they discovered something new through our platform, and then they’d go to the vendors and explore new food from the restaurant at full price. The merchants also get exposure and advertisement. The app is not here to improve your topline or double your revenue; it’s to help you cut your losses.

Is Yindii contributing to awareness?

We are but not enough, so we keep reaching out to all the big companies to educate them about food waste management. We also reached out to some schools and we’ll be doing more of that this year to teach them that food waste is a part of climate change. Reducing plastic use is not the only way to do it. We often joke that reducing food waste is the laziest way we can save the planet.

Any challenges?

One of the challenges that we are facing here is people’s attitude. Sometimes we’d get businesses who would be worried that the customers might think they’re on this app because their business isn’t selling well enough. But after we explain more about the benefits, they’re always ok with it. Merchants are more welcoming and understanding now and see Yindii as a way to boost their sustainability efforts.

To download Yindii app: iOS, Android. For merchants, click here.

This story originally appeared in BK Magazine.


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