PA Chamber Board Chairman Nick Bertram recently took the helm at Flashfood – a digital marketplace that connects consumers to heavily discounted food nearing its best-by date – as its President and Chief Operating Officer. To the food industry veteran (whose most recent position was President of The GIANT Company) this new position is the perfect marriage of continuing years of industry leadership and helping to improve communities by addressing a critical issue of reducing food waste and providing affordable food to the hungry.
This Q&A with Nick provides insights about Flashfood and his unwavering belief in its mission, along with his vision for the future and how many people the company and its growing network of retail partners can help along the way.
Congratulations on your new position as President and COO of Flashfood! Tell us about Flashfood’s origins, how many people the company employs and where you’re located.
Nick Bertram: Flashfood is a startup from Toronto, and was founded by Josh Domingues after a conversation with his sister. She called him one day in frustration over how much food she was throwing away following a catering event, and it piqued his interest into food waste at a more macro level. Following his exploration of the problem he ended up in a grocery store near his home; where he had the inspiration to solve two problems. First, people needed food but couldn’t always afford it, and second, retailers often throw away perfectly good food because it has an imperfection or is nearing its stated ‘best by’ date. His idea was to connect the supply with the demand — seven years later we’ve seen our retail partners keep over 65 million pounds of food waste out of landfills, while saving customers over $170 million on their grocery bills. Pennsylvania shoppers alone have saved over $10 million! Flashfood really went from start-up to growth during the pandemic, which ended the need to have a physical office — so the 100-person team is remote across 4 continents.
What is Flashfood’s mission and vision? How do you operate and serve your customers?
NB: Our mission is to end food waste and hunger, but we know we are only one part of the collective for good that will be needed to accomplish this. Our part is being helpful to progressive retailers, those who want to reduce what they throw away and also assist consumers in saving money. They are the heroes in this, we are simply a technology company that’s helping them do great work. Our shopper app is highly rated and getting frequent updates, with loads of new ideas in various stages of development.
How did your experience as President at The GIANT Company and other leadership roles prepare you for the leadership role you’re in now?
NB: TGC was on track to be the first zero-waste grocer in the U.S., and I cannot wait to cheer loudly when they hit that mark. It is one of the great companies in Pennsylvania, and the success of the 35,000 teammates was often fueled by great partners like Flashfood. Learning about them first as an early partner enabled me to have a unique reference as I endeavor to accelerate the impact.
What are your plans for this role and the future of Flashfood?
NB: Flashfood is beginning to accelerate its journey through grocery retail, and is currently available in 240 grocery stores across Pennsylvania, having found partners in TGC and Giant Eagle. We’re now launching in other categories like Pet Food. In fact, we just launched in a Canadian pet supply store called Ren’s Pets, with great customer engagement already. This solution is good for other channels as well, not just grocery retail; so I can see convenience jumping in as ready-to-eat becomes more important to their value proposition. And geographically, we’re expanding quickly across the U.S., so the plan is to help as many progressive, future-minded retailers as possible make an impact on food waste and hunger.
To view the full list of Flashfood locations, click here.