Free fruit auction – A genius business idea

Photo by Mark Kovic
Photo by Mark Kovic

I saw this business idea on NHK World Japan a few nights ago and it struck me as one of the most clever ideas I have seen recently. I can’t remember what the show was called, but it was about innovation in Japanese businesses. If anyone else saw the show and remembers the name, please comment below.

The business auctions off boxes off free fruit to people from their mobile application. The fruit is purchased from Japanese farmers who have excess fruit that looks “imperfect” and won’t sell to the supermarkets. Apart from not looking desirable, the fruit is otherwise fine.

So how does the business make money when they buy the fruit from farmers and then give it away for free? Well, this is the clever part that I really love. The business claims to make $9000 a month in advertising revenue, enough per month to pay for the fruit and give it away for free.

The company draws people to their app with free fruit and makes their money from the large volume of online traffic. It is brilliant!

I’ve been thinking of other ideas that could use the same business model as the one above. What do you think you could give away for free that would attract enough traffic to your website or app to generate ad revenue? Sound files for music and TV, art and design, food about to expire and plants are just some of the ideas I could think of.

My town has a small population so I don’t think it would work for me, but I think it is an interesting business to look into.

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