The Ugly Chicken Has Some Worth After All

Categories: Entrepreneurship

When Nicholas Lim, founder of Treedots, first visited a slaughterhouse, he was appalled. Every single day, slaughterhouses trash approximately 7% of their slaughtered chickens. This might seem insignificant, but numbers add up to about 5,000 chickens a day.

Think about it: 5,000 chickens are being killed daily for absolutely no reason. These chickens are trashed simply because their size might not fit industry standards, or because they were bruised, or have some broken bones (both of which are usually caused by the slaughter process to begin with). They are perfectly edible, but are treated as garbage.

To Nicholas, this was tantamount to murder. 

This knowledge was a festering wound to Nicholas, and he knew something had to be done. It served as his personal motivation when he started Treedots with his co-founders – a B2B solution to food waste that aims to redistribute otherwise unsold produce to willing buyers at an affordable price.

The business idea for Treedots first came to Nicholas during a conversation about avocados. A friend was sharing about an incident where a whopping 25 tonnes of avocados were to be thrown out simply because of one dead insect found during sampling. 

Nicholas couldn’t comprehend why the avocados couldn’t simply be redirected and sold once the contaminated fruits were thrown out. He learnt that this wasn’t done simply because it has never been done before. 

When he probed further, he realized there were no stipulations against redirecting unsold produce as long as both seller and buyer were agreeable, and most were. Sellers are usually happy to let go of otherwise unsold produce at a heavily discounted rate. These reduced costs can then be passed down to buyers – a win-win situation for both parties. 

It is upon this idea that Nicholas and his co-founders started Treedots back in 2017. Despite massive doubts from various stakeholders initially, the trio pushed on, motivated by the knowledge that Treedots can revolutionize how F&B does distribution.  

Their efforts were validated when they secured sales just a week after launching their business. Today, they reap the fruits of their efforts as major corporations have started approaching them. 

Nicholas is well-aware that they are merely three dots in the face of a mammoth problem. Yet, much like how they bootstrapped the company and brought it to where it is today, he believes their efforts will eventually make a difference, hopefully igniting change throughout the industry.  


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