In the UK, over one million people accessed a food bank last year, whilst in the USA, 40 million Americans live in food poverty. We know that poverty is not just something that just affects third-world countries, but what is mind-boggling is that we waste one-third of the food produced for human consumption. What’s more is that all the nearly one billion hungry people could be fed on less than one-quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.
This seems like a confusing problem if we know that we have more than enough supply for those suffering in poverty. It goes without saying that food waste is also a massive red light in terms of sustainability – we simply cannot keep producing food at this rate before we exhaust the earth’s resources.
We’re all familiar with that stomach-sinking feeling when you have to throw away a carton of milk before going on holiday for a week or binning that tin of cherry pie filling you’ve had in the cupboard for months and realise you will never use.
Even if you put food sustainability aside, we spend our money on this stuff, so why would we want to see it go to waste? Fear not – the issue is being addressed with technology and the development of apps that are figuring out new ways to reduce household food waste.
Photo credit: OLIO
Recommended food waste apps
By sourcing from farmers who use sustainable methods, food waste is reduced from the starting point of food production, meaning that you’re supporting farmers who are conscious about waste. The food is sourced fresh and locally, taking no longer than 24 hours from farm to kitchen via electric van, so the carbon footprint on your food is minimal – bonus!
A new way to reduce household food waste by redistributing unwanted food to your neighbours and local businesses, OLIO allows you to list your unwanted food for people in your surrounding area to see if they want to take it off your hands. List each item with a photo and description and private-message with interested users to arrange pick-up. The simple concept doesn’t limit users to food, with non-food household items such as toiletries and cleaning products also acceptable to list.
This app allows you to create lists for your freezer, fridge and pantry so that you can check what foods you have left, see what food items you need to use first, create shopping lists that you can share and sync with family, avoid unnecessary purchases, reduce food waste and save money. By keeping track of what’s in your fridge, the app makes it easy for users to meal-plan accordingly. Users can also track their monthly waste and savings, which is always a good incentive. An excellent all-rounder.
Beyond the household, there are also plenty of apps helping to reduce and redistribute waste produced by F&B establishments:
This app connects with restaurants to offer a Magic Bag – a brown bag filled with edible rescued food that a restaurant would have otherwise thrown away. The bag comes at a low price towards the end of the working day, encouraging users to consider saving perfectly edible leftovers from the bins of restaurants.
Similar to Too Good to Go, restaurants list food items on Karma that would otherwise go to waste for a discounted price and users pick up as a takeaway. Saving food, saving money – talk about win-win.
This technology recognises food when it is thrown away and then weighs it to calculate the amount of money that is wasted. This means that chefs in professional kitchens can see how much money could be saved, thus incentivising them to be more economical with their use of food products.
We reckon the future of food waste is looking up, with technology growing constantly and working to put the control of food waste back into our hands – quite literally.
Join our upcoming Food’s Future Summit this October to learn more about greener food practices