Four graduates in Computer Science from the University of Bologna cared about the problem of waste and in the last year have been involved in the recovery of food in the catering sector, connecting end consumers and shops. This is SquisEat, the startup that won Hack4Food – To Feed The Future, the digital hackathon promoted by Innovacoop, Bi-Rex, and Future Food Institute in collaboration with Legacoop Bologna as part of the Think4Food project. The initiative was a digital marathon open to start-ups, young professionals, researchers, and university students who had innovative ideas for the restart and sustainable development of the agri-food cooperative chain.
The Hackathon was the only Italian project to be selected by the open call on the restart of the agri-food sector during the lockdown period launched by Smart Agri Hubs, the network consisting of 164 Digital Innovation Hubs and Competence Centers with the aim of accelerating the digitization of agricultural systems in Europe.
The idea that the SquisEat team brought to the Hackathon aims to reduce waste in the transformation phase, where, for reasons of internal expiration and ties with the large-scale retail trade, large quantities of products with still several weeks of residual shelf-life are disposed of, generating costs and sustainability problems. The SquisEat project provides for intermediation between manufacturing companies and Horeca operators, a sector capable of using large volumes in a short time. In this way restaurateurs and the Horeca world will have access to quality products at advantageous prices, reducing waste, and allowing manufacturing companies to transform disposal costs into profits. The whole process is conveyed by SquisEat, avoiding administrative and logistical burdens for producers.
The award for the winning team includes a contribution of 5,000 euros from the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, access to Bi-Rex co-working, participation in an event of the Future Food Institute, matching activities with cooperative companies through the program Think4Food by Legacoop Bologna and with the Innovacoop network and visibility in the European Smart Agri Hubs network. Matching activities with cooperatives also for the Food2You and Bounce projects, second and third place respectively. For SquisEat it is a diversification of its activities because the startup is already operating in the connection between consumers and restaurants, grocery stores, or rotisseries for the sale, at low prices, of the day’s inventories close to closing time, to avoid waste and disposal costs.
The startup SquisEat already boasts numerous awards: in 2019 it was awarded the first prize in the Think4Food student category assigned by Coop Reno; was among the winners of the University of Bologna Startup Day and is selected for the Battiti course, promoted by Kilowatt and Emilbanca. In April 2020 and was chosen among more than 400 startups in Italy to access the Hubble program of the Nana Bianca accelerator.