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Written by: Sarah Kirton on Nov 28th, 2021

TotalCtrl 2022: Sustainable Solutions for the Food Industry

TotalCtrl is a Norwegian company helping consumer-facing businesses to save time, cut costs, and prevent food waste with its user-friendly digital inventory solution. Co-founder and CEO, Charlotte Aschim reveals more.

How and when did TotalCtrl come about?

The company was founded in December 2017, but the concept was first conceived while I was completing my studies and working in retail, restaurants, and hotels – all areas of the food industry.

It was then that I experienced first-hand how drastic food waste could be. The industry was in dire need of a more sustainable way of working. This is why I decided to create the business.

What does TotalCtrl do?

We’re a food waste prevention software company. Our technology, and what we deliver to our customers, is an inventory system that’s based on expiration dates. We can help businesses which lack control over their food inventory, and whose food is often wasted due to expiration dates. 

There’s a lot of manual work involved when dealing with inventory in general: inventory counts, price checks, variation and control, issue reporting… We digitize most of that work and ensure each business has the data it needs to plan more efficiently and purchase smarter.

The goal is to work with every level of the value chain – we’ve been able to provide technology from supply level to the consumer. We’ve built a platform that tells our customers what they have, where it is, and when things are about to expire. 

In addition, we’ve also created apps to serve different customer segments. The technology itself doesn’t change, but the interface is tweaked. 

Why did you want to focus on food waste in particular?

In the food industry there’s a lot of focus on waste and on tools to help reduce the issue. In my mind, though, not enough is being done to prevent the problem from arising in the first place. Companies need to take more preventative measures by better organizing themselves from within.

Looking at the bigger picture of the value chain is of the essence. The industry needs to see the ripple effect – in a positive way – for the entire value chain and not just from one perspective.

The data we have at consumer level can be cross-communicated to different levels of the value chain to benefit everyone. For example, it could provide data to farmers which would help them make better decisions, farm more accurately, use their land more accurately, and run their business as optimally as possible.

It could also help suppliers distribute their food deliveries more wisely, resulting in fewer delivery issues and a cut in CO2 emissions due to better transportation planning. It all connects.

The overall goal is to make the food industry more circular, sustainable, and profitable – for all parties involved.

Has the company grown over the last few years?

Yes. We’ve expanded in terms of our technology, the markets we are present within, and our customer segments. We’re now in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and South Africa. We plan to expand even more into Europe, as well as other continents, and will work with our distribution partners to ensure we have a huge impact.

How would you describe your technology? 

It’s revolutionary, as it has transformed an industry that is in need of transformation. And the way we are revolutionizing it is by making it available to multiple players in the value chain.

Currently, power in the value chain is held by the retailers – they control what’s being produced. We want to provide data, insight, and solutions to other players in the value chain so they can leverage this in regard to how they produce, how they can be more profitable as a business, and how they can be more flexible in times where climate change and pandemics are prominent.

Would you describe it as scalable?

It’s extremely scalable as we’ve made a standard solution which can be implemented into different customer segments and industries.

How do you see the future of automation in the food industry?

I think it’s essential in order to use our resources more efficiently. The way we currently produce, handle, and sell our food requires too much manual labor.

Automating the manual work will allow for more efficient production of food for the growing population, will reduce food costs, and will drastically decrease carbon footprint.

What lies ahead for TotalCtrl?

Within the next five or six years, we hope to be a standard solution and the best company in FoodTech. Our goal is to acquire and buy companies that can add value to what we’ve already built in order to provide our customers with a single solution when it comes to food tracing, eliminating food waste, and ensuring visibility of data.

About The Author

Sarah Kirton

PR Writer, Delivery Rank

A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!

A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!
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