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Nilus, an app for food not to be wasted and reach social canteens


Nilus is an application that uses geographic data to rescue food that is about to be wasted and take it to community canteens Credit: Courtesy Nilus

In Argentina, three out of 10 children suffer from hunger or malnutrition (according to data from the UCA Social Debt Observatory), while
400 tons of food daily are lost without being consumed, which is equivalent to throwing a kilo of daily food per person.

Nilus is a technological enterprise whose mission is to combat hunger and food waste. For this, it uses cutting-edge technologies such as geolocation, big data, visualization boards and route optimization algorithms for "
rescue food that they are about to waste themselves and take them as soon as possible to social canteens that need them. "
Food Bank, which also has an application to manage the donation of food.


For now, the transportation of food between those who donate it and the dining room is paid; transaction management via Nilus is free

For now, the transportation of food between those who donate it and the dining room is paid; the transaction management goes Nilus has no cost Credit: Courtesy Nilus

The system works Uber style and connects through an application to food generators and possible waste, with transporters and social organizations that can take advantage of that food that would otherwise go to waste.

The platform was presented by Ezequiel Lamnica, a graduate in computer science from the University of Buenos Aires and a technology entrepreneur, during the recent launch of the Artificial Intelligence Institute of the Universidad Austral.

"We use technology for a social and environmental purpose," describes Lamnica, who joined
Nilus more than a year ago to develop the platform. In 2015, I had created Green Code, a software company specialized in logistics that works for large brands of mass consumption.


For now, the transportation of food between those who donate it and the dining room is paid; transaction management via Nilus is free

For now, the transportation of food between those who donate it and the dining room is paid; the transaction management goes Nilus has no cost Credit: Courtesy Nilus

From this experience, he was summoned by Ady Beitler, Uruguayan entrepreneur and co-founder of Nilus. "In principle, I offered to develop a platform similar to those used by companies for the distribution of their products on a voluntary basis, but finally I decided to join the project," he says.

Today, the platform is used by the Food Banks of the city of Rosario and Mar del Plata, Critas and community organizations in Villa Itat and La Matanza. They also made agreements with Walmart, Granja Tres Arroyos and with the Central Market, where from the donations made by a dozen storekeepers, they are able to rescue 1.5 tons of food per day and take them to different dining rooms in the Federal Capital and the Conurbano.

"Our focus is to work with fresh foods such as meat, vegetables and fruits, which are of the highest food quality and are not usually donated because they spoil quickly," Lamnica said.


Ezekiel Lam├│nica

Ezekiel Lamnica

By not having stock or deposits, the key is to process the information on supply and demand of food and transportation available instantly, to make deliveries in a matter of hours.

Technological solutions for hunger

Thanks to this tool, those in charge of the dining rooms and community organizations can see the food supply on their cell phones. There are restrictions to this offer according to the "profile" of each entity (number of attendees, if you provide lunch or snack only, location, etc.). When they place the order, a call to the carriers is triggered and those who have availability accept the trip.

Independent or grouped carriers can be registered in companies and cooperatives. Chauffeurs must have a professional registry and vehicles adapted to transport fresh food or that require a cold chain.


Donations are classified according to the type of food and dining needs

Donations are classified according to the type of food and dining needs Credit: Courtesy Nilus

For now, the system works through agreements with large generators of food waste and networks of community canteens, but the idea is to take it to retail stores and greengrocers, as well as to smaller snack bars and dining rooms.

As the platform grows in number of users and volume of data, algorithms can be applied so that, based on the purchase history, the needs of each community canteen can be predicted, or assist their organizers in the planning of balanced purposes with fruits, seasonal vegetables and food available to donate.

Social institutions receive food for free (as they are donations), and only shipping is charged. Today Nilus is developing another scheme by which neighborhood canteens can group together to make joint purchases and get a better price on fresh food. "What we do is to unite the offer with the demand, based on the information", describes the partner of Nilus.

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