Cirkula: promoting sustainability by rescuing food from wasting

February 11, 2024


Cirkula aims at food sustainability to help the planet, they have already rescued over 150,000 food items from being wasted. Read the full story here.

Since the beginning of 2020, Cirkula aims at food sustainability to help the planet. They have rescued over 150,000 food items from being wasted. Cirkula started by betting on the world of food sustainability within a country with a great gastronomic offer, such as Peru.

What is trying to tackle Cirkula?

Michelle Gomberoff, cofounder of this platform, after having worked in the startup world and having been involved in various areas with great learnings, decided in 2019 to test the research of a circular food economy where restaurants would minimize food waste and sell these products to customers with up to a 40% discount.

In this way, Cirkula entered the Peruvian market in early 2020. Although Michelle clarifies that the pandemic was a tremendous challenge for the startup due to the difficulties in reaching users and restaurants, she considers that the business strategy she and her cofounder, Jimmy Baudts Jabiles, devised was the right one by encompassing both B2B and B2C solutions at the same time, constantly networking with industry contacts that helped spread awareness of Cirkula within the market.

Acquiring first customers

"What we did at the beginning was, with our contacts from previous jobs and family, reach out to our first establishments, in other words, go through the process of setting up a meeting, talking, getting together, and that allowed us to attract our first 15 to 30 locations thanks to this personal network we had built," affirms Michelle.

Initially, they started with cafés and pastry shops identified as having a high level of food surplus, as large restaurants found it difficult to accept that they had food waste, fearing it could harm their image with customers. However, during 2021, Michelle and Jimmy's business strategy continued to grow, approaching different objectives such as chains, stores, and distributors.

Strategic Cirkula partners

Furthermore, in 2022, Cirkula's success involved working closely with Sodexo, a food distributor and facilitator, which allowed them to access consumers with Sodexo cards and restaurants with agreements with this brand, identifying different customer segments and achieving 300 partner locations.

As a result, the platform gained greater recognition, aligning itself with new objectives for 2023. "The main focus this year is to start reaching more of this mid-market, which we are already doing, and to achieve a total of a thousand locations by the end of this year, establishing a stronger consolidation in Lima", Michelle clarifies about Cirkula's goals for 2023.

However, this startup has not solely dedicated itself to working independently to achieve its goals. As Michelle affirms, their previous experience and relationships with accelerators and investors have allowed Cirkula to experience growth over time.

Pygma accelerator program

That's why this venture has benefited from the Pygma program, in which they have participated to improve their business strategy over the past year. What have been the benefits of Pygma's support for Cirkula? Cirkula has worked hand in hand with Pygma to improve its operations, focusing on the need to interact with mentors and other founders from different startups.

They understand that the program has allowed them to pay attention to what they initially didn't consider relevant and to continue improving in areas they were already working on. For this reason, Michelle says that Cirkula's corporate culture revolves around collaborating with others going through similar experiences in their own ventures and requiring assistance.

Thus, Cirkula appreciates Pygma's support in their business strategy through panelists, advice, and workshops that have helped them work toward their goals and improve in areas that were initially weak. What can we expect from Cirkula in the future? By the beginning of next year or the end of this year, the platform aims to grow within the Latin American market, especially in Ecuador.

They understand that the results in the past year have been positive, as they have managed to make an impact and focus on sustainability, fulfilling their goal of helping the planet and providing food accessibility with surplus food that is still in good condition.

Additionally, Cirkula intends to continue expanding its metrics, as they have already rescued over 150,000 products from being wasted, resulting in savings of over US$200,000 for the population. Likewise, the platform will constantly work on building a community promoting sustainability and a circular food economy.

"Effectively, we have tried to create a community where we educate them, provide zero waste tips, zero waste recipes, and gradually teach them to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Food is always a connecting point that generates a sense of community," says Michelle.

Upcoming challenges

Therefore, Cirkula will continue working with influencers and ambassadors to attract the public and engage with users, fully aware of the challenges ahead, such as the B2B business system, which requires more time and cannot be carried out solely through digital or phone communication due to the need for personal interaction with users.

Despite the challenges, Cirkula will continue working to generate sustainability that helps the ecosystem and the food economy, approaching its users and teaching them strategies to avoid wasting food. Thus, Cirkula intends to grow under the guidance of two founders who allocate their time to various personal activities that help them learn how to undertake and make an impact in Latin America.

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