Online marketplace cuts wastage by offering cheaper food

A scheme that aims to help shops reduce wastage and offer cheaper food to lower-income families will be put on trial in Little India.

Goods like fruit and vegetables that are close to their expiry date can be put up for sale on the website Lasmin.

Buyers must go directly to the sellers to collect their food, which will be sold at cheaper than usual prices.

"We hope that this platform can help reduce food wastage, allow sellers to recoup some of their losses and to help people from the lower social-economic strata to buy food at a lower cost," said Lasmin's 45-year-old founder Puneet Seth.

Lasmin does not charge a commission or fee, though its appeal to some businesses may be limited.

Mr S. Syed Muhammad, 55, owner of Tiffin Bhavan Restaurant, said: "There is little to no wastage in my shop, as we always plan and buy ingredients that we need."

We hope that this platform can help... people from the lower social-economic strata to buy food at a lower cost.Lasmin’s founder Puneet Seth

Mr Rama Murthy, 49, owner of Chennai Trading and Supermarket, echoed the sentiment: "We have very little food wastage. However, if we do have, we sell it to restaurants below cost price."

Lasmin will be launched on the Web, iOS and Android next Friday, the first day of this year's Indian Cultural Fiesta.

Fifteen ethnic associations - including the Singapore Malayalee Association and Assam Association Singapore - will help to put together this year's show.

For the first time, a fashion segment dedicated to Indian ethnic wear will be included, with both Indian and non-Indian models wearing costumes representing cultural diversity.

"The cultural fiesta is done every year in the hopes of bringing other races to Little India to experience our Indian culture," said Mrs Joyce Kingsly, vice-president of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.