When I visited the Gander offices to do an interview for Working Week last December, the company’s managing director, Mike Osborne, told me that his ambition was to win the Earthshot Prize.

Bearing in mind that the Earthshot Prize, the brainchild of Prince William, attracts entries from all over the globe, this might have sounded a tad ambitious for a comparatively young tech start up based in the Isle of Man.

But harnessing the ingenuity and imagination of small scale innovators around the world to help repair and regenerate the planet is the essence of Earthshot and Mike’s ambition has come a step closer with the announcement that Gander has received a nomination for awards.

They will go forward to be presented to the Prize Council, which will announce the shortlisted finalists later this year.

For those who haven’t yet tried Gander - why not? - it’s an app that allows shoppers to find reduced-price food in Shoprite stores island-wide, stopping goods from going to landfill, saving customers money, and improving margins for businesses.

Created by Mike and his son, Ashley, Gander’s innovative technology is aimed at tackling the ‘shocking and unsustainable’ levels of supermarket food waste. It has already helped to save 25,000 tonnes of CO2 and prevented 24 million food items from being discarded since launching in 2019.

Gander has been supported by the Isle of Man Government, and is now being rolled out across the world.

It has been nominated for the Earthshot Prize by two sustainability giants, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Cranfield University.

Mike is passionate about the environment and about the aims of his company. He said: ‘The present scale of food waste worldwide is appalling, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis. A shocking one-third of all food produced globally goes to waste, and the retail sector alone is responsible for 13% of that waste, with an average of 50% being reduced to clear food going to waste.

‘To prevent a catastrophe, we require a significant transformation. That is why Gander was created.

‘Large food corporations often make bold claims, but we must make throwing away good food as socially unacceptable as smoking indoors.’

Launching over the next few weeks in Australia, with Brazil and South Africa next to come, Gander is driving the sustainable revolution for retail and food waste, and expects to be able to save 120 million food items from landfill in the next three years, saving 126,000 tonnes of CO2 and methane (the equivalent of 16,800 elephants).

Mike went on: ‘This tech has the power to impact hundreds of millions of lives and be a real force for good, which is why we’re thrilled to have been nominated for this prize, as it helps to raise awareness of this increasingly unsustainable situation.’

Through the Department for Enterprise’s Financial Assistance Scheme, Gander received grants to support the launch of the Gander app and further research and development.

Mike said: ’We are so grateful to Digital Isle of Man for supporting Gander’s “retail revolution”. Their backing of the Isle of Man’s tech sector has been invaluable. They understand how technology can be a real game changer.’

Lyle Wraxall, chief executive of Digital Isle of Man, added: ‘We are delighted to hear that Gander has been nominated for the Earthshot Prize, and the Isle of Man Government is immensely proud to have supported such an innovative business in its growth stage.

‘Gander is a shining example of a technological innovation that can help tackle one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and we hope this success story inspires other purpose-driven businesses in the digital and tech sectors to come and see what the Isle of Man has to offer.’