What got us started?
Peishan: When my Grandma fell ill, I discovered a hidden truth. That for years, I’ve been wasting perfectly edible food. For it was only then that I started researching about healthy diets for my Grandma, and discovered how ugly foods are often being thrown away. That’s a huge waste of the natural resources it took to produce them in the first place. They are perfectly edible and as nutritious as other more aesthetically pleasing food.
Augustine: Upon further research into this cosmetic filtering, we realised that this massive waste of food could be turned into a business opportunity. That we could do our part in reducing food waste here – which has increased by about 40% in the last 10 years, and continues to be so.
What was our first project?
UglyFood was born through a university project while we were studying at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). We were working on a project for Design Odyssey, a programme established by SUTD-MIT International Design Centre, in partnership with the JP Morgan Foundation. Design Odyssey aims to provide students a seamless transition to professional practice by focusing on social awareness, innovation and design.
During that project, we started building UglyFood’s business concept by doing primary research and talking to stakeholders, such as staff from supermarket chains, local farmers and wet market stall owners. We then realised that a lot of ugly food became ugly through logistical processes such as distribution and transportation.