Two Scottish entrepreneurs are planning to overhaul the food delivery industry, taking on major takeaway companies to provide a new environmentally-friendly service.
Phil Housely and Stewart McGown, founders of ecoeats, are on a mission to tackle two of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions – transportation emissions and single-use plastic packaging.
To achieve this, ecoeats deliveries are made by zero-emission electric bikes and cars. Restaurants package their food in reusable containers which are then conveniently picked up by ecoeats couriers and cleaned before being put back into circulation.
The UK takeaway industry threw away an estimated 10 billion pieces of single-use plastic last year, but ecoeats’ packaging can be used up to 1000 times.
“Circular economy hasn’t been this easy since the milkmen,” McGown tells Grocery Gazette.
“What we try to do is make a process that some people might view as a difficult thing, to be as easy as possible because we’re fanatical about making sustainability convenient for people.”
McGown and Housley met while studying at the University of St Andrews. The service is currently available in St Andrews, Glasgow, and Dundee, with plans for a UK-wide expansion.
Ecoeats have already delivered an estimated 100,000 orders to people in Scotland, with many restaurants signing up to the service on an exclusive basis.
Having had an overwhelmingly positive response so far, McGown believes consumers are keen to see a sustainable shift in the delivery industry.
“We’ve had around 15,000 unique customers – that’s almost 100,000 orders from people who truly believe this is the right way to get a takeaway. And we’ve had so much positive feedback in terms of what people think about the app and the service.
“Our riders constantly get great reviews. It’s just really nice. People love what we’re doing and they’re really on board with it.”
Ecoeats recently attended COP26 in a bid to spread the message and gain more support and visibility through their crowdfunding campaign.
The company attended the SOS UK event, serving food in their reusable containers and highlighting the substantial benefits they offer.
“The big target for us is to be able to bring what we’ve built to the rest of the UK,” McGown adds.
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According to a report by Lumina Intelligence, the food delivery market has grown to over £11 billion and is predicted to be worth £12.6 billion by 2024. ecoeats is optimistic that it can bring the positive changes the industry needs.
“We hope we can bring a lot of good to the country and this industry in general, because we really believe in what we’re doing,” McGown says.
“We’re fanatical about making this industry green and that makes it so easy to be proud of the company we’ve built.”
In terms of ecoeats’ future, McGown concludes that the key objective is “delivering takeaway in reusables across the UK to everyone that wants it and making this industry greener.”
The company is planning to offer its service in cities across the UK by the end of 2022.