Through an inspiring and dynamic interview with Louis-Alban Batard Dupré, we got to discover this amazing planet-saving initiative called Yindii. Louis and his partner Sam created Yindii only a few months ago to support restaurants, cafes and stores to get closer to an ideal, yet, sometimes just unachievable zero-waste operations.
How does it work? By the end of the day, those stars would offer great discounts on their unsold items of the day, so us, customers, could enjoy quality food for a small fraction of it usual price. What’s more? No more waste = a happy planet. That is a win-win-win situation in our book!
Louis, where are you from?
As my name and accent can betray me you can guess that I’m French 🙂
I’ve always been a travel nomad so after spending a few years in India, Spain & New York, we decided to go on a world tour with my wife and finished by Thailand settling up for a new life. We chose Thailand because we were dreaming of living in South East Asia and Bangkok was the best choice anyone could ever make.
How did you come up with the idea of Yindii? And what is it?
During our world tour, we helped some hotels and guesthouses on the way to be more competitive in the online world. Only then did we start realizing how much food was thrown out. Literally kilos of delicious fruits and buffet food, not even touched, perfectly edible,… in the trash. Disgusting…
So, when I moved to Bangkok last year, I started to volunteer for SOS Thailand, a local food charity that feeds underprivileged people with surplus food. They’re doing an amazing job distributing millions of meals to people in need. Unfortunately, this is not enough and tons of food are still wasted every year around Thailand.
Last month, we launched Yindii, the Delicious Surplus Food App (technically still atill the end of August). It’s a marketplace where restaurants, bakeries and groceries can sell their surplus food at discounted prices to avoid having to waste. Eco-conscious can use it to rescue tasty meals, save money and stand up for the planet. Already 400 Food Waste Fighters and 20 eco-stores have joined the fight, including Sunshine Market, Delifrance, Le Macaron, and even farm-to-table partners like Happy Grocers and Green Angel. We’re super excited about what we’ve achieved in just a month and this is just the beginning. We want to lead the change in the food industry in Thailand and make it more sustainable.
Image courtesy of Yindii
Reminder on what “Yindii” means in Thai?
“Yindii Ton Rap” means “Welcome”. It’s literally the first word I heard arriving in Thailand and the first I saw in my book to start learning Thai. It’s a beautiful world that resonates in any language. Welcome! “Welcome to the Food Waste Fight Club!”.
It’s a way to remind us also that we are welcome on this planet. But we are only guests, as we’re just passing by for a short moment, it doesn’t belong to anyone. When you’re invited to your friend’s house, do you trash their living room with your plastic bottle and food scrap? Obviously no. Why would you do it on the beach then? Since we are welcome as guests, we need to behave like ones.
What is your view on the food waste / climate change perception in Thailand? Compared to other countries you know?
Thailand is a state of food waste emergency for a decade now! 64% of Thailand’s total garbage is food waste. In Bangkok, only 2% of food waste is properly recycled… It ends up in landfills and rivers. Open dumpster affects water sources and communities around, smells, diseases, etc. And local councils do not have the budget to handle that. When food waste is not properly recycled, it produces methane, a gas 25 to 30 times more dangerous for the planet than CO2. The UN calculated that food waste contributes to 8% of the human-made greenhouse gas emission… Who could imagine?
The situation is catastrophic but there is hope. Thailand cares about ecology and is moving forward. Pre-COVID ban on a single plastic and plastic bags was a great first step. Massive tourist spots like Maya Bay were closed in 2018 for coral restoration and let nature grow back. Thailand, Thai people, and Farang need to stand out for their beloved land as the authorities and big companies are lagging behind.
So how does Yindii work?
Yindii, it’s easii ! You can register on yindii.co and start browsing delicious surplus from premium restaurants, bakeries, and groceries in Bangkok at 50 to 80% OFF. You reserve the one you like and if the place has a surplus at the end of the day, it’s for you! You can pick it up or get delivered. That’s an amazing way to eat well, save food and protect the planet.
How has been the response to your great initiative so far?
We’ve seen tremendous traction around the initiative. Nobody likes to see good food go to the trash. A lot of bakeries and restaurants are calling us to help them reduce their waste.I will always remember Prem from Sunshine Market the first time I told her about Yindii, she said “Where were you? I’ve been waiting for you so many years !”. When you hear that as a fresh entrepreneur, you know you’re on the right track.
Our community of Food Waste Fighters is growing every day more and extremely supportive. They know we defend a good cause so they want to help. We see that once you start rescuing food with Yindii, you get an electrochoc. How come that mouth-watering cake was about to be ditched to the bin ?
How many participating brands/stores/restaurants do you have?
We are announcing a new store or brand everyday. We have almost 20 partners active on the website. It goes from premium bakeries like Delifrance, Le Macaron or Landhaus, to high-quality vegan brands such as Sunshine Market and Man&TheFigs. Healthy food places like Hummus Heads and Ohana Poke to organic farm-to-table brands like Happy Grocers. More and more partners will be announced in the coming weeks, stay tuned!
Who can join the Yindii’s marketplace?
Everybody is welcome! For the moment, we concentrate on high-quality brands and places. Branding is the key element that guarantees that the food quality on Yindii is spotless. It ensures us that our Food Waste Fighters get an incredible experience and feel good purchase on Yindii. It’s a good way to try out new places, connect in an emotional way with them and come back… at regular hours ahahah
What is the message you’d like to share about your mission and what you think is the most crucial message for you through Yindii?
Any mountain you’d to climb starts with a first step. We cannot give up and be pessimistic because a task seems to massive. Tackling global warming seems is a worldwide mission that none of us, no government or company alone will succeed. It needs to be everyone doing some small changes to our daily life. Our ways of living cannot sustain like that. I truly believe that Yindii will change the food industry in South East Asia, not just because we’re doing something good to reduce waste but because we’re educating people about global warming and food waste. Education is the most powerful tool in our possession!
We have to fight against 1.3 billion tons of food waste around the world, that’s a herculean task. We were 2 at the beginning and we’re almost 400 now. That’s incredible!
And you can do it too. You can start rescuing 1 Yindii Box and talk to your friend about it!
🎤✍ Interview & article by Joelle Smaniotto