Copia mobile app helps combat food waste, hunger

Global Business

According to a recent report by the UN Environment Program, about one-third of all food gets lost or wasted in food production. It’s also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in landfills. In this age of on-demand service, one Silicon Valley entrepreneur believes a mobile app is the best way to combat hunger and waste.

CCTV America’s Mark Niu has the details.

Wouldn’t it be great to give all the food we waste to those in need? For the startup Copia, that’s not just a random thought — it’s a business.

“Within that frustration gave me inspiration, which was like how cool would it be if businesses that have food could say we have food and non-profits that need food could say, ‘Hey we need food, and we could match these two entities in real time and clear the market place,'” Komal Ahmad, Copia founder and CEO, said.

The Copia app allows businesses to enter a pickup location, add a photo and details of the amount and then set a time for pickup.

Copia utilizes contract drivers, but in many cases Ahmad’s does the delivery with her own team.

They arrive at a catering service that has leftover food. Copia carefully packs it up and collects detailed data.

Food stays fresh for only so long, so they quickly hit the road to deliver to Cityteam, a non-profit group that feeds the poor.

“This is just kind of a stepping stone,” Doug Hopkins, Cityteam house manager, said. “The way I would look at it is that their ideas are definitely open for the world.”

Copia has stringent standards for its food. It continually works on cutting deals with businesses that have high quality, gourmet food.

Copia also delivers to the St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter, where Roy Alton McCamey, who recently suffered a heart attack, waited for food.

“I have to eat healthy, I have to eat vegetables, I can’t eat certain fats,” McCamey said. “With Copia helping us like this here, we have a much more assortment of the foods that we can get that we need.”

McCamey is working on earning a high school diploma through a sheriff’s department program.

He said he realizes rebuilding his life will only be possible if both body and mind are properly nourished.

Komal Ahmad discusses her startup Copia

For more on Copia, CCTV America’s Mark Niu spoke to Komal Ahman, founder and CEO of the app, about her inspiration for the business, the economic benefits of Copia and the issue of wasting food.