Fast Company of the Month

July 2016: FoodCloud

By Business & Finance
08 August 2016
FoodCloud Iseult Ward Aoibheann OBrien
Co-founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien

Growth at the not-for-profit organisation gathers pace as UK expansion continues.

FoodCloud – previous Business & Finance Ones to Watch – is a not-for-profit social enterprise that connects businesses with too much food with charities that have too little.

It is a social enterprise creating a solution that connects businesses that have surplus food with charities in their local community through a technology platform. FoodCloud allows stores to upload details of their surplus food and send a text message to a local charity to inform them. The charity then gets it to people who need it.

The company was founded in 2013 by Aoibheann O’Brien and Iseult Ward, two young female social entrepreneurs. In February 2012, they attended an Enactus event, immediately bonded over their love for food and distaste for waste, and knew they had to do something to reduce food waste.

FoodCloud’s Food Rescue Project arranges for volunteers to collect food from shops and businesses and deliver it directly to charities through its 150 volunteers.

Hundreds of charities collect food donations daily, directly from local supermarkets. FoodCloud has expanded to a network of more than 500 retail stores and 1,100 charities, redistributing 1,481 tonnes of food.


FoodCloud’s revenue is based on charging retailers an annual service fee per store and an initial set-up fee. FoodCloud offers businesses an alternative to throwing out good food and paying the associated waste disposal costs, while meeting CSR goals and benefiting their community in a practical and meaningful way.

It is part of a movement of start-ups and innovators using technology to disrupt the food industry. As a young and growing organisation, FoodCloud are perfecting the model and working on technology development, processes and securing adequate resources to be able to scale in a sustainable way.

FoodCloud works with Tesco and Aldi in Ireland, and with Tesco in the UK, and hopes to scale to 3,000 Tesco stores by the end of 2017. FoodCloud charges retailers a fee per store and its current operating income covers its operating costs, enabling FoodCloud to be a self-sustaining non-profit social enterprise.


Having competed against 3,000 entries, and qualified through a series of rounds, the non-profit made it to the final six of Virgin’s Voom 2016 entrepreneur competition in July. CEO Iseult Ward presented to notable individuals such as Richard Branson, Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely and Marcus Butle.

Marketing and communications manager Niamh Kirwan also helped launch the eir Elevation Awards 2016 during July. The awards recognise the growth and ingenuity of the fastest growing businesses across Ireland and the specific reasons for their success.

In 2015, FoodCloud picked up the ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ gong at the eir Elevation Awards.

Business & Finance, Fast Company of the Month

eir fast company buttonWith a spotlight on innovation, international scalability, differentiation and strategic investment to the Irish economy, Business & Finance – in association with eir – recognises the growth and ingenuity of the fastest growing businesses across Ireland.