Here’s a piece I wrote for IBM that was not published, but I wanted to take the time and share it with you. This is a bit of a glimpse into our vision and why it’s so important to us to succeed, why a simple app means so much more to the world and why it will take time.
1) People power change. If we are to alleviate poverty, reduce food waste, change eating habits, and promote wellness, we have to empower all people regardless of background to have the tools required to successfully practice and implement that change into their daily lives.
2) Poverty & eating habits are cyclical. Just as a child with Astigmatism is fitted with glasses, children and families who have trouble budgeting and eating better should have a tool that helps them do it as well. Last year, a friend told me he was in the grocery store when the gentleman in front of him in line asks to return groceries so he can get school supplies instead. My friend offered to pay for his groceries and he said no. He couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t get food for his family, but school supplies instead. I explained to him that just because someone has no money does not remove their sense of pride and their inner achiever. When that man’s children goes to school the next day, they are going to be fed. He prioritized the books so that his kids would have access to learning and be and do better to break the cycle. However, budget and nutrition lessons if taught in school are unable to be applied at home because there are no tools to empower parents to learn and do the same.
3) It’s not just people who live in poverty we must make way for the future as all income earners will be affected. Reduction in food waste is good for fresh water supplies. About 25% of Fresh water supplies are wasted on 40-50% of the food waste in the United States alone. To reduce food waste overall would save the average American family of 4 roughly $2k a year, but it would also save us more fresh water. Nationally, we throw on average $544 per person of food in the trash. This accounts for over $165 billion dollars per year and globally, $1 Trillion. “The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050 and this growth will require at least a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels.” If we can cut food waste by 1%, we can offset some of the costs incurred by growth while creating jobs and sustainable food resources throughout the globe with minimal impact to self nutrition and access.
4) Wellness applies to the entire family, not just the kids. Mom often puts herself last or compromises for quick answers. I have no intention of stopping until the mom who had a rough week found she had $20 to go and 3 days until pay day to feed her and her family and because of Stretch, she was able to quickly make it work.
By building an app that empowers people to enter their budget, choose their meals, and automatically receive their shopping list and coupons/savings, we have created actionable steps to building a smarter planet and businesses for people that are powered by people.