19 January 2023

In the battle against climate change, food waste is a major hurdle to overcome. But a solution developed on the Isle of Man promises to reduce waste and boost margins for retailers, all while saving customers an average of 56% on their groceries. 

Food-waste app Gander was founded back in August 2019 by father-and-son team Mike and Ashley Osborne. Inspired by Ashley’s observation of how much food was being wasted in supermarkets each day, the app allows customers to see real-time ‘reduced to clear’ items in their local stores.

The concept is a world-first and in recent months, the company has been going from strength to strength. 

Overcoming obstacles

The task of connecting budget-conscious customers with the would-be waste in their local supermarkets has not been an easy one: the start-up first had to find innovative technical solutions to ensure that retailers could keep their existing processes and workflows in place. 

By working with an Electronic Point-of-Sale (EPOS) provider, they were able to develop a seamless solution that automatically lists ‘yellow ticket’ items in the app and removes them once they’re sold or thrown away. Customers can see real-time price reductions on the Gander app or supermarket website - without adding a millisecond of extra work or training for staff. 

Opting for the Isle of Man

The choice to build the business on the Isle of Man came much more easily. When they founded the company back in 2019, Mike and Ashley were long-standing residents of the island and felt that it could offer both an ideal work/life balance for the team and a secure and safe environment.

What’s more, with the government sharing the company’s vision for a sustainable future, they knew that they could get off to a running start. They were able to secure grants from the Department for Enterprise in 2021 which helped them build a website and hire external resources to support their growth. 

“We knew by keeping the brand local, we would have ample opportunities to work closely with some forward-thinking retailers,” said Head of Business Development Stacey Williamson. “Gander has also been fortunate enough to work with the government in spreading the sustainability message and has benefitted from grant funding which has helped propel the business to new heights.”

A milestone year

These heights include expanding beyond the UK into Brazil and Australia, netting customers more than £2.7 million in discounts and rescuing more than two million items - the equivalent of 2,200 tonnes of CO2. 

This year, Gander is looking to deepen its foothold in the UK market. New legislation aimed at monitoring and reducing food waste is set to arrive in 2023, giving the start-up new opportunities to work with new retail partners. So far they have gone live in 525 stores and are working with big-name brands like Shoprite. 

But the ambition goes even further, as the founders have their eyes on an even bigger prize. The father/son team hopes to someday win the Earthshot prize for services to environmentalism, drawing attention to Gander’s food-waste mission and the Isle of Man’s commitment to sustainability and biodiversity.