Online shopping scheme to cut food waste on trial

Little India businesses can sell unwanted fruit, vegetables on website at lower prices

A scheme that aims to help shops reduce wastage and offer cheaper food to lower-income families will be trialled in Little India.

Shop owners in the area who have goods like fruit and vegetables that are close to their expiry date can put them up for sale on the website Lasmin. Buyers must go directly to the sellers to collect their food, which will be sold at lower prices.

"We hope this platform can help reduce food wastage, allow sellers to recoup some of their losses and help people from the lower social-economic strata to buy food at a lower cost," said Lasmin founder Puneet Seth at a press conference for the Indian Cultural Fiesta yesterday.

Lasmin does not charge a commission or fee, but its appeal to some businesses may be limited.

Mr S. Syed Muhammad, 55, owner of Tiffin Bhavan Restaurant, said: "There is little to no wastage in my shop, as we always plan and buy ingredients that we need."

Mr Rama Murthy, 49, owner of Chennai Trading and Supermarket, echoed the sentiment: "We have very little food wastage. If we do have, we sell it to restaurants below cost price."

Lasmin will be launched on the Web, iOS and Androidnext Friday, the first day of this year's Indian Cultural Fiesta, details of which were also revealed yesterday.

Fifteen ethnic associations - including the Singapore Malayalee Association and Assam Association Singapore - will help to put together this year's event.

For the first time, there will be a fashion segment dedicated to Indian ethnic wear. Indian and non-Indian models will wear costumes representing cultural diversity.

"The cultural fiesta is done in the hopes of bringing other races to Little India to experience our Indian culture," said Mrs Joyce Kingsly, vice-president of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.

Other activities such as yoga and dancing will also be conducted during the month-long event.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Online shopping scheme to cut food waste on trial'. Print Edition | Subscribe