Phenix makes a big deal out of waste

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[EN VIDÉO] Modern food: the great advances and failures of half a century
Is the food industry feeding us badly? Yes and no, demonstrates Dr. Cocaul, nutritionist and columnist at Futura. Our modern food is plentiful and well secured. However, the preparations and packaging are too attractive, while the reinforcement of sugar and salt makes it too rich, causing real epidemics, starting with obesity.

Jean Moreau, co-founder of Phoenixis convinced: companies can create jobs and generate profits while serving the general interest.

Futura: Can you explain your concept to my grandmother?

John Moreau: With Phenix, we create effective and united solutions to put an end to waste and connect those who have too much food with those who don’t have enough. Since the company’s launch, we have saved nearly 200 million meals from the trash at a current rate of 150,000 per day. We also want to change the way people look at responsible consumption, especially on the expiry dates of products.

Jean Moreau, co-founder of Phenix.  © Phoenix

Futura: What is your solution?

John Moreau: We do incremental innovation: we have taken up a concept as old as the world by optimizing and digitizing it to give it the most impactful impact possible. At the beginning, we chose to focus on helping manufacturers and stores to manage their stocks efficiently, avoid the bin box and donate unsold products to associations that work in favor of the most disadvantaged. The subject has gained momentum since, with several laws to counter food waste, such as the Garot law in 2016, the Egalim 1 law in 2018 and the anti-waste law of 2020. Since 2019, we have wanted to involve consumers in the process by launching an app to buy unsold food products at discounted prices from merchants near them, and thus demonstrate thatantiwaste also rhymes with purchasing power and a solution against inflation. We have also developed the animal feed sector with products that are not edible by humans, rotting fruit or stale bread to make them available to farms and zoos for example.

The Phenix anti-waste application.  © Phoenix

Futura: Why is your start-up going to change the world?

John Moreau: Phenix is ​​certified Solidarity Company of Social Utility (ESUS) and B-Corp. Our project has a triple positive impact: social, environmental and economic. We want to revolutionize the ways of managing end-of-life products, with the ambition of creating a new standard in the management of unsold and waste. We are gradually installing a new reflex: that of a second life,circular economy, and our vision is to make the trash can useless, to make it a collector’s item relegated to a museum. It is also a question of drastically reducing waste, knowing that according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a third of the food produced in the world was lost or wasted every year, which corresponds to about 1.3 billion tons of food per year, while 820 million people still suffer from hunger in the world. Our project is also to reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions necessary for the production of the products and their treatment at the end of their life. We are finally proud to have, via this solidarity activity, a decentralized model that creates 250 jobs in the territories, spread over around twenty cities in France and Europe.

The Phenix team in Paris.  © Phoenix

Futura: How was the project born?

John Moreau: I started my career in the world of finance after a business school and an additional course in public affairs at Sciences Po. In 2014, I needed to give a little more meaning to my professional life with the will to have a positive impact by contributing to the necessary change. the food waste was a subject close to my heart and which ticked all the boxes of my ambitions: a social aspect, an environmental impact and an economic dynamic. With my partner Baptiste Corval, we then created Phenix with a bet of 500 euros each. Since then, we have come a long way!

Futura: What are the next steps?

John Moreau: We are planning a sectoral extension of our value proposition to non-food products, initially perishable such as plants, then non-perishable, for toys, clothing, hygiene products, etc. We also want to develop the model and bring to maturity the countries where we have already set foot: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium. To bring these ambitions to life, we plan to finalize a fundraising in the summer of 2022.

Futura: If you were Prime Minister, what key measure would you put in place?

John Moreau: I would prioritize two. One on the environmental aspect: I would emphasize the polluter-pays system with increased penalties and a cost of waste treatment which would increase over time because it is not, in my opinion, currently sufficiently dissuasive to influence certain practices harmful to the planet. The other, on the social side, where I would finally materialize the food voucher project for the most deprived that Emmanuel Macron has been talking about since December 2020, and which would give access to quality products, organic, local or responding to an anti- waste.

Waste seen by local shops. Survey conducted in March 2022. © Phenix, YouTube

Futura: What will the world look like in 2050?

John Moreau: I am delighted to see that a ground swell with positive impact is underway to try to meet the immense challenges that stand in our way towards the future. It benefits from a gradual alignment of the planets between more and more talents who are committed, consumer actors who now use the bank card as a ballot and a world of finance which is following suit towards virtuous investments. The current entrepreneurial dynamic also shows that we can reconcile growth, profitability and positive impact for society. But to create a real tipping point, in my opinion, it would really be necessary to “pollinate” the traditional economy, that the large groups which are at the heart of the reactor frankly join the movement and that the political world act firmly. This is the entire mission that we have given ourselves with Eva Sadoun as co-chairman of the Movement Impact France. I’m not worried about the destination, the whole question is how long the trip will take, because there is urgency.

Futura: What Futura hot topic excites you?

John Moreau: We talked a lot about sustainable food and responsible consumption in this interview, so maybe I would choose this content on the sustainable consumption to broaden and remind that everything is not only played on our plates either!

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