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Onlinehandel Lebensmittel
Originally from Sweden, Motatos sells foodstuffs that have been labelled as production rejects or whose best before date is about to expire. (Caption: Viktor Strasse/Motatos)

Solving the issue of food waste from overstock and distressed items

- Business Operations

3 Min Reading duration

Motatos is a start-up that combats the waste of food with the help of FIEGE’s know-how in Großbeeren

When Alexander Holzknecht stood for the first time inside the logistics centre in 2020 where food items were to be stored, he could not picture the 5,000 square metres of storage space ever being filled. “I will never forget that meeting. Six months later, we needed a new warehouse”, the Country Manager Germany working at Motatos GmbH says, looking back. The young enterprise has outsourced its inbound and outbound logistics to FIEGE. From the Großbeeren multi-user centre, the Greven-based logistics company has been shipping roughly 80,000 packages a month in year two of the collaboration with Motatos – and the trend is on the rise: “We are planning to double our order volume in 2022”, Holzknecht announces.

Motatos is the international offshoot of Matsmart in Scandinavia AB, founded some seven years ago. Since Matsmart is a Swedish play on words, a new name had to be found for the branches in Finland, then Denmark, and one year ago now, Germany. Potatoes, Tomatoes, Motatos – the  name fits in with the rest. “The idea behind this is that the word contains a small error but is still great. And the same goes for the food. Some things are not perfect, but still taste great”, Holzknecht tells us.

The sustainable approach to overstock

Motatos’ concept is equally great: Foodstuffs that are production rejects or whose best before dates are about to expire or have only just expired are sold at a clearly lower price online. “Some twelve million tonnes of food are disposed of in Germany every year. We wanted to find a sustainable solution for this overproduction”, Holzknecht explains. The start-up’s product range consists of 1,000 regularly changing items.

Selling food online comes with logistical challenges. After all, the shopping basket which shoppers fill is complex and on average consists of 30 different products. “This calls for a high degree of flexibility. Thanks for years of experience in eCommerce and the food segment, FIEGE has turned out to be an extremely good choice”, Holzknecht reports. FIEGE’s know-how proved particularly invaluable when it came to optimising orders. “A scalable set-up was decisive for us to succeed. We want to grow and need partners for this who can keep up with this development”, says Holzknecht.

Paket Übergabe Motatos Roughly 80,000 outbound packages leave the FIEGE Großbeeren branch every month for Motatos. (Caption: Viktor Strasse/Motatos)

Steady growth of pillars

Initially, the German market was viewed with great respect. “We had to gauge which role sustainability plays on the part of consumers”, is how Holzknecht recalls the mental exercises leading up to the past decision. In the end, they jumped in at the deep end. “The online shop went live in April 2020 and our development during the first year of business has been fantastic”, Holzknecht says. The decisive criterion for the company’s success was steady, healthy growth in relation to the available offer as well as customers, all while the logistics also had evolve. The FIEGE branch located south of Berlin operates currently on 8,500 square metres of warehouse space.

More and more suppliers are welcoming Motatos’ business model. “Producers don’t make money with us, but we solve their overstock problems”, Holzknecht says, adding that: “Our 200+ suppliers include a few very well-known clients.” The Country Manager is satisfied that the circle is growing: “Usually consumers tend to buy not only with Motatos, but by including us in their shopping routine, they already significnatly avoid wasting food.”

Clear goal ahead

The market then definitely exploded over the last six months. “We therefore sparked the next growth stage in autumn”, says the Country Manager. In the meantime, its Germany workforce operates with a team of 15 employees. The goal is to add more countries. If the plan works out, Holzknecht will soon be standing in an even larger warehouse.

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