Team Renaissance showing off their winning innovation. From left to right: Nitya Anthony, May Lim, and Alex Chen

When was the last time you had to throw away expired food you had forgotten about after storing it away? What if your phone buzzes you when your food items are about to expire?

That was the idea that helped Singapore clinch first place in the global Shell Ideas360 competition, which calls on young people to submit their potentially game-changing solutions to the planet’s energy, water and food challenges.

Representing Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Team Renaissance developed an app called Food Basket, which aims to reduce global food waste that amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes each year. Food Basket helps users track expiry dates of their groceries and offers two options for their expiring food: either consume it, utilising the range of recipes provided by the app, or trade it with someone else using the in-app market place.

Team Renaissance was selected from more than 1,000 entries from 55 countries to enter the grand finals. They travelled to the Shell Eco-marathon in Rotterdam to present their ideas alongside teams from Malaysia, Qatar, UK and USA. After careful deliberations, the judging panel of business, NGO and academic experts voted Team Renaissance’s idea to the most innovative, collaborative and potentially game-changing of all.

Team member Alex Chen, a 24-year-old in his final year study at NTU's Renaissance Engineering Programme said, “1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste each year, costing the average household $1,500 a year in waste. We think the Food Basket app can help reduce that, so being in Rotterdam to demonstrate it has been an incredible experience – and made all the hard work worth it. It’s also inspired us to come home and develop even more ideas for a sustainable future!”

Shell Chief Human Resources & Corporate Officer Director Hugh Mitchell said, “Shell Ideas360 is all about inspiring and celebrating the amazing creativity of the world’s young people. The fact we received so many entries in 2015, almost double the number of last year, shows just how much the next generation care about the world they’re inheriting. All the teams can be extremely proud of themselves but, of course, special congratulations go to Team Renaissance.”

Team Renaissance will be celebrating their victory with their prize: an all-expense paid National Geographic Adventure to the destination of their choice. Their next stop? Sweden: Dogsledding to the Icehotel!

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