“My cause is that no food is wasted”

Alcione Pereira, CEO of Connecting Food, tells how a magazine and a lecture motivated her career transition to social entrepreneurship

In recent times, much has been said about the search for a purpose in life — and the difficulty of finding it. It may be that it has already been embedded in us for a long time and just needs a little push to surface and be the starting point for a personal revolution. It was like this with Alcione Pereira, CEO of ConnectingFood.

Before commanding this social business which, among other things, coordinates the redistribution of donated food in the All at the Table Movement (of which iFood is part), Alcione had a long career in very traditional companies. 

Graduated in Food Engineering, she spent 15 years occupying positions in areas related to food production, logistics It is supply chain, planning and information technology in different organizations. But, in the last years of his corporate career, Alcione began to question whether he still fit into this world.

“I didn’t know exactly what or how, but I always thought that I had a slightly broader mission, that I had come to the world to do something different,” he says.

The desire to do this “something different” has accompanied Alcione since adolescence, but ended up being hidden due to the direction her life took. At the age of 14, he read in a magazine the story of British businesswoman Anita Roddick and her role as head of the cosmetics company The Body Shop. Roddick, one of the pioneers of environmental activism and social causes, was in Brazil to discover the Amazon.

“I was thinking: 'Wow, is there a company with a social concern? It blew my mind,” recalls Alcione. “It was then that I realized that a company could generate a positive impact. And that has been with me my whole life. I read and reread her biography, which is still on my bedside today, and I gave this book as a gift to many people.”

The purpose, then, has always been there. Furthermore, Alcione already wanted to do something different and was starting to prepare for a career transition. All that was left to do was find the “what” to form the perfect storm. 

Finding your cause

The answer came in 2015, when the then executive was beginning to prepare to leave corporate life as she knew it and started attending events linked to the area of sustainability. “I attended some lectures, and one of them was about food waste. That was when I discovered a fact that I was unaware of and was shocked: a third of the food produced was thrown in the trash!”, she says. It was the trigger for a career change.

“Anita Roddick had beauty as part of her cause. The moment I came across food waste, I found mine: I want no food good for human consumption to be wasted in the world. On the day that all potential food donors are donating, I will be able to do something else”, he said.

The following year, the food engineer participated in the Social Good Brazil, a social innovation laboratory that aims to train social entrepreneurs. There, he had the opportunity to test some solutions to combat food waste and came up with the idea that gave rise to Connecting Food: connecting those who have ready-to-eat food (the food industry) with those who can receive them to target people in this situation. of social vulnerability (civil society organizations).

"I did benchmarking and I saw companies abroad that were already doing something similar. I didn’t invent the wheel, I just looked at what was already done and tried to adapt it to Brazil”, he explains. 

The idea came second in the festival promoted by the institution and, thus, obtained the first investment. It was the first step towards making the idea of a social impact business, desired since I was a teenager, finally become a reality.

“I think it was one of the best decisions of my life”, he says. I can only be grateful for having the courage to believe in emptiness, because I really didn't know what awaited me. But I think it worked very well. I am very proud of what I do and I like to think that I am doing something very positive with my life, which impacts the lives of thousands of people every day.”

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