Say Hello to Phenix HK!
An innovative Surplus Food Rescue App
At HeroesToo, we celebrate organizations and individuals that address environmental or societal challenges with innovative solutions. For us, they are the ‘Real Heroes’!
Today we are sharing excerpts from an interesting chat with the team that brought Phenix to Hong Kong.
Left image: Screening Phenix's App to get discounts. Right image: looking at Phenix's app to find a nearby store that offering a discount. Image provided by Phenix by OnTheList.
The already established high-end discount store ‘OnThelist’, joined hands with a well-known European start-up ‘Phenix’ in February this year. This anti-waste app provides access to surplus food from various F&B establishments, at huge discounts to the Hong Kong community. The main idea is to give a second lease of life to unsold food from restaurants. Thus benefiting not just the environment but also food retailers, customers, and the local community.
We met with Delphine & Diego Dultzin - co-founders of OnTheList and Phenix by OnTheList- to learn more about them and the story behind their newly launched food rescue app.
Co-founder of Phenix by OnTheList. Left: Diego Dultzin Right: Delphine Dultzin. Image source from: phenix by OnTheList
Read on to learn how to have a pocket-friendly food budget while doing you bit for environment by reducing food waste.
Q: What is Phenix’s ethos and philosophy?
A: “Phenix’s objective is to turn food waste into opportunity. Just to give you a perspective, in Hong Kong, up to 3,600 tonnes of food is wasted every day. This means that one-third of the world’s food produced is being binned. It is a serious problem!
Our aim is to make sure that all perfectly good food ends up in our stomachs rather than in landfills. We, therefore, launched this App which connects merchant’s food surplus with end-users and helps us rescue food from being wasted for no reason.”
“And Phenix’s philosophy aligns with our fundamental belief & vision – to achieve zero waste in a circular economy.”
Q: Why did Phenix collaborate with “OnTheList”?
A: “This is a win-win collaboration for both. Phenix brings the tech (the App), and OnTheList, it's market knowledge along with its 370K strong member community.”
Q: How does Phenix operate? Can all registered restaurants and supermarkets in Hong Kong become a supplier?
A: “Yes, we basically target F&B business who might have some food wastage, doesn't matter if it’s on a daily basis or not. These businesses can be bakeries, coffee shops, hotels, supermarkets, or wholesalers. Based on their needs, merchants can come up with a combination of magic baskets that fits their food surplus, as well as ‘pick-up’ time slot.”
Left: Surplus Fruit & Veggie from a local Grocery Store. Right: Surplus Baked Goods from a local store HAPI. Image provided by
Q: How does Phenix promote the idea of anti-food waste?
“It is all about education & awareness.”
A: “Phenix by OnTheList connects with Food Made Good, a program that supports the local foodservice sector around sustainability challenges. Through this, we want to connect with more like-minded players and build a stronger eco-conscious network.”
“Our business developers and marketing team too have been busy introducing this new idea in Hong Kong.”
Q: How does Phenix plan to spread this idea to the general public?
A: “In terms of public awareness on the issue, it is a long battle…..Other than sharing our philosophy with media outlets such as SCMP and Italian Cham Magazine, we mainly use our social media channel to share educational information.”
“Currently, we are collaborating with various key opinion leaders (KOLs) to promote conscious consuming. We want to make sure Phenix by OnTheList is not only understood by our business partner, but also by our next generation.”
Q: How would you prompt the local population to start using the Phenix app on a regular basis?
A: “Social media is our go-to right now. Also, in order to foster an intimate relationship with our Hong Kong community, we have been setting informative booth at events from time to time, for example, The Earth Carnival by OnTheLove and The Hive’s Urban Farm & Feast Market 2021 during Earth Day”
“We are trying to narrow the gap by talking to people face to face and explaining our concept and operation in person.”
Phenix's information booth at The Hive. Image provided by Phenix by OnTheList.
Q: Does Phenix offer any workshops/ programs/ tips to educate its Food and Beverage retailers?
A: “Definitely. We are trying to convey a new concept of brand image in the food and beverage industry. One of the biggest obstacles is the concern on brand image and product display from big players. They have high standards on how to maintain their image, which comes along with other concerns such as food safety and packaging. However, we try to redirect such a mindset. Our endeavor is to go beyond the product value, and look at promoting its environmental value and potential in marketing & branding.”
“We often discuss the future of the green economy with our clients and advocate a business strategy that links commercial opportunities with social problems. We urge them to take a step further with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and create shared value (CSV), a business model maximizing profits by addressing societal needs. Through these conversations, we offer insights to F&B players on sustainability and how they can contribute together as a force to cultivate an eco-friendly economy.”
Q: For their Asia market why did Phenix launch its app in Hong Kong instead of any other Asian city?
A: “Hong Kong is where OnTheList started 5 years ago and is also its head office. These were the main reasons for Hong Kong being the launchpad for Phenix in Asia.”
Q: Is there any significant cultural difference between the Hong Kong and European users while using the apps?
A: “There are significant cultural differences between Hong Kong and European users. While Europeans are relatively familiar with the concept of buying surplus food; for the Hong Kong community, this is a relatively new concept. For instance, they often confuse Phenix by OnTheList with other food delivery platforms.”
Q: What are Phenix’s vision and mission for the future? Does your organization have any goals that they would like to achieve?
A: “Our ultimate vision is to achieve zero waste. An uphill task for sure but we are trying to develop a greener lifestyle by changing our habits. Through Phenix by OnTheList, we want to illustrate a sustainable pattern for customers’ behavior and foster a surplus consuming culture in Hong Kong.”
“And of course, we want to take Phenix by OnTheList to other Asian countries and continually address the over-consumption issue on a bigger scale.”
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Helen Tam, Gunjun Chanana, and Luciane Zanelle.
Special Thanks To Delphine & Diego Dultzin.