Food waste is an environmental, social and economic nightmare. It’s estimated that globally, one third of all food produced is wasted. If you look at it another way, we use farmland the size of China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan combined to grow food that is never even eaten (source: FoodCloud).
At the same time, hunger remains one of the most urgent development challenges of our time. 1 in 7 people still go hungry, many of them children.
Most of us are inadvertently contributing to the issue, with new analysis warning that an alarming rise will see 66 tonnes thrown away every second. Whether it’s realising you have half a fridge’s worth of food to get through the day before a holiday, to letting fresh produce go out of date – we’re all guilty of wasting food.
It’s time to rethink how we tackle the fight against food waste. From providing shops with a platform to sell their surplus food, to connecting with neighbours, here’s our pick of the five best food waste apps.
Having recently raised $12 million in Series A funding to expand its mission to counteract food waste, Karma is showing how the tech industry can help to tackle the problem at a global scale.
In London alone, Karma works with more than 400 restaurants to distribute their surplus food to Karma users who get to buy the food at half price. Instead of going to waste, selling unsold food generates revenue and helps restaurants reduce their CO2 emissions. Karma gets a double thumbs up thanks to their use of biodegradable boxes made of sugar cane to serve up all that delicious surplus food.
Food Cloud is a fantastic social enterprise matching businesses with surplus food to local charities and community groups in Ireland and the UK.
In seconds, a store can upload perfectly good food to the app; local charities are then sent a notification letting them know food is available for collection. From breakfast clubs to homeless hostels, it’s a win-win for all – charities have access to a supply of fresh food and businesses can contribute to their community in a meaningful way.
On a mission to create a world where ‘food produced’ means ‘food consumed’, Too Good To Go is fighting food waste by giving retailers an easy to access platform to sell their surplus food.
Instead of throwing away perfectly good items, shops can use the app to upload their goods. Customers get to use the app to be a waste warrior and buy the food at greatly reduced prices. The participating stores win by making some extra cash on food that would have otherwise cost them to dispose of.
Focused on collective action, OLIO is the brainchild of friends Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One.
“We believe OLIO can help create a world in which nothing of value goes to waste, and every single person has enough to eat – without destroying our planet in the process.”
We love how OLIO not only connects consumers with local shops, but also with their neighbours. It means next time you’re going away and have fresh food in the house that will go to waste, it can be shared amongst your local community.
To date half a million OLIOers have joined the #FoodSharingRevolution, sharing out almost 700,000 items of food.
Of course, one of the best ways to tackle food waste is to stop it from happening in the first place. Winnow was originally designed to help commercial kitchens cut down on the amount of excess food being wasted, but it has since been adapted for domestic use.
The app was tested out by Sainbury’s as part of its ‘Waste Less, Save More’ campaign, with six households using Winnow to determine the value of the food they were throwing away. After learning the true cost of their actions, each family took steps to make changes and managed to reduce their food waste by 68 per cent on average.
Downloading one of these food waste apps to reduce your surplus food will not only make a positive contribution to the environment, you will also be doing your bit to help support UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger.
If you are a pioneer working in the food industry and have a great story to tell, get in touch with our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 214 1250 to find out how we can help.