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Entrepreneur appealing for Cheltenham business to back food preservation invention after rejection on Dragon's Den

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 10, 2012

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ENTREPRENEUR Andreas Patikis is appealing for a Cheltenham business to back his food preservation invention, after failing to find investment on TV's Dragons' Den.

Andreas, from Gotherington, could not convince the dragons to buy into his Tic Toc, a fridge magnet which allows people to easily keep track of the expiry dates of their food.

The 38-year-old is now hoping a local business will stump up £15,000 to sponsor the product, which is like a clock face displaying the days of the month, with hands for each food group to set to the relevant expiry date.

Andreas says the £15,000 will cover the cost of producing and distributing the Tic Tocs across Essex, for a trial of the product in 5,000 homes, which he has agreed with the county council. Whichever company sponsors Tic Toc will have their logo and website displayed on the gismo.

Father-of-two Andreas, who runs his own insurance company, said: "I was brought up in a council house with not much money and, being Greek as well, we were taught to finish the food on the plate and not leave any waste.

"Financially and environmentally, it gets me agitated when people leave waste."

Plagued by the knowledge that food was being thrown away across the country, Andreas dreamed up his Tic Toc invention two-and-a-half years ago and had the finished product nine months ago.

He said: "You simply place the dial on the expiry date of the food type when putting things away in your fridge. Each dial has a symbol to represent the major food groups that we waste in the UK."

Andreas added: "I have had meetings with four or five other councils and they have all said they love the product but don't have the money to pay for it at the moment. They said I have to prove that it works first, so that's what I'm hoping to do with Essex County Council.

"The trial will be for three to six months, and the council will be weighing the food waste it collects during that period to compare it with regular times and see if there's a difference."

If you are interested in sponsoring the Tic Toc, call Andreas on 07973 343166.

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  • TICTOC  |  December 11 2012, 11:54PM

    in answer to some earlier comments. writing down on paper instead of using tic toc would just create more waste, something we are trying to avoid. in terms of putting the list of food items in your phone, not everyone has the time to type out each product and then an expiry date and you are hardly going to look at your phone every time you go to the fridge. in terms of funding this ourselves, we have put a lot of money into this project and are now at a stage we require a sponsor for commercial reasons as well as financial...ultimately if we do not find a sponsor we will fund it ourselves. as previously advised, this product worked statistically on a few household when trialed so now we are looking to gain a better picture with 5000 households. the unit cost is not £3 as someone suggested, there are other expenses apart from just the unit that the £15000 sponsor is required. either way, the product arrives to household FREE and the coouncil make a huge saving on their waste management costs.

  • strebor100000  |  December 11 2012, 7:52PM

    As a cafe and home owner I can actually see some benefits in this invention. Naturally, one would need to look at it more closely, but on the face of it I can certainly see some mileage in supporting its development. I wonder what the Dragons hesitation was?

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  • disco2disco  |  December 11 2012, 12:12PM

    Useless product. Anyone who cares enough to move the dials will also care enough to put reminders in their phone, or write it down on bits of paper or even just open the fridge door and have a look at the products themselves. I've no doubt that councils would be interested, they always are interested in products that are useless (green waste bags, noddy train, sex industry investigations, etc etc and thats just CBC!). If you believe in this product why not sell your other business or raise capital in others ways (loans, re-mortgage, etc) and fund your business idea yourself?

  • joholly  |  December 11 2012, 5:13AM

    TICTOC - I'm not sure how you get penetration with this. It seems to me that you need £3 per item to cover your costs - this seems a high cost for an early sponsor. I doubt that anyone will want two- it needs to do what it says on the tin (by being simple and effective-not cluttered) - test this with market research - how many people would buy two for £6? and be honest with yourself. You should do the pilot closer to home as you will get better publicity (local guy on tele) and more buy-in here. The product is more likely to be of use to those on a tight budget - focus the elderly (help the aged or social charities - they may be interested but your distribution costs will rise as the target is scattered). Most of all dont give up, you might not get there with this one but you have tried to address a problem by creating a product that no one has! But before you push ahead prove (and have someone independent test this) that there will be demand for your idea. Best of luck.

  • TICTOC  |  December 10 2012, 10:24PM

    Tim, thank you for your comments, let me answer:- 1 - this would depend on each household and how many fridge magnets they had, we also have a version with suckers to put on a kitchen cabinet 2 - I am glad that you do not waste food but the fact that we waste a considerable amount of food as a country (enough to fill 10 Wembley stadiums) proves that there is a food waste problem 3 - we would simply advice it is situated nearer the top of the fridge (granted, I have a 4 year old and I am sure he would do the same!)

  • TimMessanger  |  December 10 2012, 9:58PM

    Two points here; 1 - It would get in the way of the other fridge magnets. 2 - I don't buy too much food that it goes off 3 - My son would take great pleasure in taking it off the fridge and hiding it under the sofa or the like or at least changing the dates!

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  • TICTOC  |  December 10 2012, 2:41PM

    We have a registered Tracemark for TIC TOC, so that would answer the query in terms of lawfully using the name. The person who pays for the trial is the Sponsor so no council tax payers money is involved. In fact food waste is not mostly from what is left on your plate. 7 million slices of bread and over 4 million apples are thrown away each day in the UK as an example. The product is a good one that has worked on a few smaller trials and now we have a 5000 pilot agreed because the product is liked by Councils and we need to see results on a larger scale.

  • TICTOC  |  December 10 2012, 2:30PM

    Hi Alfredo, in answer to your question, you simply put the earliest expiry date of that food group date onto the TIOC TOC and once this item is eaten or frozen you move it onto the next recent date etc This product is tackling the major food waste groups. A lot of design and market research has been done to enable the consumer/environment to get the maximum benefit, reduce spending and waste whilst still having the time to use the product on a day to day basis. In fact, our feedback from our 'mini trial' was very good on a food waste and financial level from the household who used it. Even a 10% reduction on food waste has a drmatic effect on the environment and in these tough economic times leaves some extra cash in your pocket!

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  • spindles12  |  December 10 2012, 2:21PM

    Haven't you thought Alfredo, the obvious answer is to have your fridge door covered in Tic Tocs, one for each food group, not just one with several different food groups! At least it would make a colourful, yet totally useless display. Who in their right mind is going to faff about with that every time they put something in their fridge? It's a wonder he's actually been allowed to call it Tic Toc because a quick Google brings up various things with the same name. I am more concerned about the sentence:- "The trial will be for three to six months, and the council will be weighing the food waste it collects during that period to compare it with regular times and see if there's a difference." Who will pay for this "trial", presumably the council tax payers or will Mr. Tic Toc pay for it, after all, he wants proof that his invention works so he should pay any costs incurred that go towards bringing it to the market. Sorry but I can't see anyone wanting to test it let alone buy it. He seems more concerned with the food going past its use by date while in the fridge but I suspect that most waste comes from cooked food on the plate that hasn't been eaten. The food waste that is collected by councils consists of cooked food as well as vegetable peelings etc. that wouldn't have been in the fridge in the first place. Yes, it's not good that there is such a lot of food waste but I don't think this is the way to go about it. Oh dear, back to the drawing board I think.

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  • Alfredo_  |  December 10 2012, 12:19PM

    What if you have items of the same food-type arriving on different days? It's not an investible product, and for that reason, I'm out.

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