Little Inventors

Eleven-year-old girl's groundbreaking invention could help reduce food waste

The Independent
Jack Peat
View on The Independent

An 11-year-old girl will see her food waste-fighting fruit bowl turned into a household product by a major independent food retailer.

Rumaan Malik, a pupil at Grasby All Saints Primary School in Lincolnshire, invented a fruit bowl called the "Alarm Cup" that alerts its owner when food is about to expire.

The innovative device scooped Ocado’s Food Waste Challenge award, which has seen the online grocer partner up with design website, Little Inventors. Some £13bn-worth of food is binned every year in Britain.

Rumaan said: "I started thinking about what we throw away at home and what would help us stop this happening. Apples are my favourite fruit, but they were always going all soft when my mum left them out in the fruit bowl and forgot about them.

"That’s when I thought of my idea and started drawing the Alarm Cup. I thought that we all need something that could help us use up our fruit by sounding an alarm before it goes off, instead of letting it end up in the bin. I couldn’t believe it when my teacher told me I had won!"

Rumaan’s “Alarm Cup" also features a mini touchscreen display with icons for different produce, and food waste-fighting recipes such as apple crumble and banana bread.

Helen White, special advisor on household food waste at WRAP, said: “We were particularly impressed by Rumaan’s invention as it addresses one of the key issues behind food waste: behavioural patterns.

“The process of buying food without paying attention to expiry dates, leading to their disposal, is something we’re all guilty of from time to time, and it has become a habit for many. The Alarm Cup challenges this, disrupting the pattern and helping people unlearn the subconscious behaviours that cause household food waste.”