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Aiming to eliminate 50% of food waste in East Africa and beyond - John Mbindyo, FreshBox

Kayla Dreuth avatar

Kayla Dreuth

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Aiming to eliminate 50% of food waste in East Africa and beyond - John Mbindyo, FreshBox

Up to 53% of food in East Africa is lost or wasted.

FreshBox is on a mission to change that.

Founded by CEO, John Mbindyo, FreshBox designs, manufactures, and deploys solar-powered refrigerated storage solutions for fresh produce farmers, aggregators and market vendors.

In Kenya, John noticed that fresh produce sold at markets would often get wasted because it was lost in the early and middle stages of the food supply chain. 53% of it! Food would also go bad in less than 2 days because it couldn’t survive the harsh weather conditions of the region. Knowing that the amount of food lost in Africa could feed 300 million people per year, John was determined to find a solution for food spoilage in a localised context. He discovered that if he could solve the issues of poor storage options and cooling facilities - it would be possible. With the help of YouTube, John researched how to build sustainable storage spaces and from there… FreshBox was born.

He created his units to have solar panels angled on the top to catch the sunlight, a cool interior to keep the food at the right temperature, and crates stacked up to hold over two tons of produce. The units fit conveniently in a vendor space at markets access Kenya, so they are accessible and efficient.

FreshBox has developed a pay-as-you-go model which allows the team to reach customers that previously have not had access to refrigeration services and allows them to prevent the spoilage of fruits and vegetables across the entire region. They have now expanded into 4 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and South South.

By increasing the longevity of the produce selling period to 950%, FreshBox units can provide more consistent revenues to the retailers in produce markets. They will provide more nutritious produce that hasn’t gone bad too.

FreshBox has truly impacted the lives of many vendors across all of East Africa, especially women who pick and sell food for a living. Women are now making a larger profit and feeling more satisfied than they were before. Not only is John contributing to the larger issue of food waste but he’s helping to grow the local community’s economy as well.

Now in 2023, FreshBox has 36 refrigerated units, where 10-15 vendors share each one - that’s over 500 market vendors John’s company is helping! But, he doesn’t want to stop there.

John and his team at FreshBox are pushing out a new initiative to double his current unit amount. He plans to build 40-50 more units this year - which could help over 1,000 market vendors in Kenya. He’s also ready to double the size of his FreshBox team.

In order to make this happen, FreshBox is seeking our Startupbootcamp Australia community to raise $250K. Will you be one to help?

Is it definitely possible! Let’s make a difference together!


  • Enquire now to help John and his team build more cooling units, provide more stable incomes for market vendors, and solve food waste in Africa.
  • You can invest via his Crowdfunding link here!

Background on John’s connection to SBC:

John was a member of our FoodTech 2022 cohort. During his time on the program, he learned how to seek for the best customer intention, manufacture employment growth, and how to strategically expand his business. We loved working alongside him during his founder journey, let’s give back and help him take his business to the next level today.

Thank you.

Kayla Dreuth avatar

Kayla Dreuth

Marketing Coordinator @ Startupbootcamp Australia