Plan Zheroes has a dream

It dreams of a world where there is no food waste, and no-one lives in food poverty.

To make this vision a reality, Keytree has supported the registered charity by creating and developing an interactive service – the Zheroes mobile responsive platform.

Keytree working in the community

It is important to Keytree that work completed for Plan Zheroes is on a pro-bono basis as this is fundamental to the Keytree founding values.

Dan McNamara, CEO explained that supporting a good cause is more important than ticking a CSR box. He added: “Working in the heart of Central London for almost ten years we see the problems around us every single day. We don’t like waste so being able to use our skills and creativity for the benefit of others, is a wonderful position to be in.”

Based in Central London, Plan Zheroes is a social network that helps to build relationships between food businesses and charities to simplify the process of donating surplus food. The charity recruits volunteers, who collect and distribute unwanted food from restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries or any outlet at the close of business.

Communication is quick and simple, and food reaches those in need safely and conveniently. The partnership has been in place for almost two years, and the idea came from Plan Zheroes co-founder Lotti Henley, who is passionate about the prevention of hunger.

She said: “When people are hungry, they have no energy, they cannot think clearly, they cannot function properly. When children go to school on empty stomachs, they cannot concentrate, they perform badly and their whole future is affected.”

To ensure work is of the highest level, it is under constant review.

In recent months, Keytree has updated the registration process, set up a feedback form to support Plan Zheroes ‘call to action’ and provided access to non-UK users. Laetitia Fain, Chief of Logistical Intelligence, part of the Zheroes Operations team is aware of all the great work completed to date.

She said: “The new registration process was a massive change but an invaluable one.” Laetitia added that Keytree’s role is crucial in the delivery of the operation as the whole project is technology based.

She said: “Keytree holds the keys to the technology and has invaluable knowledge that helps Plan Zheroes find practical solutions to the challenges faced during the development of the project.”


How does it all work?

When a business has surplus food to donate, they upload their information online. Nearby charities, who are registered with the service are notified and can claim it online.

If needed, volunteers and local transporters then get involved in moving the food. These wonderful individuals need to be dedicated, as this will potentially be at very short notice.

The technology and infrastructure created by Keytree allow users to view offerings of food and instantly claim what is on offer. Available online, users can access the platform on the move and keep up to date with developments within this web-based community.

Initial research combined end-user interviews, collaborative design sessions and prototype testing, which all helped inform which functionalities and experiences are core to the success and development of Plan Zheroes.

The platform has some critical areas:

  • Enhanced Map functionality with a smart matching system – this will help match up businesses with surplus food and hungry charities
  • The ability for companies and charities to view and export reports of their activities
  • Community functionality to create relationships with the different stakeholders within a geographical area
  • It’s safe and secure – users have full control on who accesses their information

What does it feel like to see a dream become a reality?

Lottie Henley gave a heartfelt summary on what it all means. She said: “I am so deeply grateful and very aware how much time it must have cost you and your colleagues to create this brilliantly clear and user-friendly platform. It is so straightforward and will encourage and inspire people to donate their surplus food, and will reach areas of need that no other food charity can address.”

Lottie praised Keytree further by telling us that by helping Plan Zheroes to prevent hunger, suffering and hopelessness we will help to link food donors to hungry people much more easily and faster. She summed up her feelings by adding: “This is an astonishing gift that you have created with your expertise and out of the kindness of your hearts. I would like to shout your praises from the rooftops.” As the journey continues, Keytree always has the time to meet any requirements.

According to Laetitia, when any significant issues arise the support from Keytree is always excellent, efficient and done with a high level of patience. She complimented the partnership pointing out that staff at Plan Zheroes are very much aware of Keytree’s great work and very grateful for it. She said: “I think most of our competitors also know how lucky we are to benefit from Keytree’s expertise, experience and excellent support.”