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Food waste is a massive problem of our modern society – we waste roughly a third of the world’s food a year (about 1.3 billion tons).
This is terrible mostly because 1) millions of people are starving and 2) food waste in landfills emits greenhouse gasses that cause climate change.
To reduce food waste, you can download various apps, that take different initiatives – some focus on minimizing waste in your fridge while others specialize in providing a chance to redistribute extra food creatively. They fall under three categories:
- Apps to cut food waste at home
- Apps for purchasing discounted food
- Apps for giving away extra food to people in need
Apps to cut food waste at home:
The following apps are for personal use, preventing food waste in your fridge. They track expiration dates and make sure the food gets eaten before it expires.
NoWaste is an app that tracks the expiration dates of food in your fridge and pantry. The app allows you to manually enter your food’s expiration dates and turn on notifications to send you a message when the food is about to expire.
NoWaste also boasts a social media community where you can share your food waste stats to help keep you (and everyone else on the app) accountable.
OLIO is an app that helps neighborhoods team up against food expiration and waste. Encourage your neighbors to download the platform so you and other members of your community can post food that they no longer want.
This app is a great way to connect with your community, make friends, and prevent food waste in the process.
If you accidentally purchase something at the store you already had at home, Kitche is a great app that prevents that. With a quick photo of your supermarket receipt, Kitche will help you keep track of the food you have at home and make sure you never double up on the food you don’t need.
The app is also catered specifically to you, recommending recipes based on your dietary habits.
Apps for purchasing discounted food:
Next, the following apps help connect businesses with consumers who can help redistribute or consume their nearly expiring food to keep it out of the trash.
Location: 10 US states and Canada, but expanding
The Flashfood app locates groceries near you nearing their expiration dates and can be purchased at a significantly discounted rate.
You can pay through the Flashfood app too. This app is excellent for anyone who is looking to snag good food for cheap.
5. Food for All
Location: Boston & New York (200+ restaurants)
The Food for All app allows restaurants to connect with customers and offer food that would otherwise be thrown away.
The discounts are often up to 80%, and you can purchase the meals one hour before the restaurants close. Download the app and enter your location to see participating stores near you. The app also allows you to donate food to those in need.
Location: Denmark and New York, but expanding
This app displays stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cafes near you that sell their unsold food at a discounted price to prevent food waste. Too Good To Go is a Certified B Corporation, and it has saved over 70 million meals worldwide.
Order your food directly through the app, pick it up, and pay a fraction of the price! This saves you money and is a great way to prevent waste.
Location: Denmark and New York
YourLocal is another app with a focus on saving food. It helps communities prevent food waste by giving people the opportunity to pick up surplus food from supermarkets and restaurants for a fraction of the cost. The app is relatively new and currently only available in Denmark and New York.
Location: Sweden, the UK, Denmark, France
Karma is selling surplus foods at great discounts. Download the app and see what’s available to you! In addition, you can find takeaway food from more than 20K restaurants across Europe & the UK.
Location: France & Europe
Phenix is both for individuals (purchasing discounted food) and businesses (selling away food that didn’t sell).
Find the businesses in your neighborhood offering anti-waste baskets made up of their unsold products of the day. It can be anything from supermarkets, grocery stores, caterers, bakeries, restaurants, etc. The price reduction is usually -50% on average.
Phenix is a partner of more than 15,000 merchants in the following cities: Paris, Lyon, Rennes, Nantes, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lille, Reims, Caen, Quimper, Tours, La Rochelle, Limoges, Perpignan, Chambéry, Strasbourg, Dijon, Besançon.
You can also use it if you are from Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
Location: New York, but expanding
You’ve probably heard that shopping locally is a great way to support your community. GoMkt takes this mission to heart.
Like other apps we’ve seen, goMkt encourages you to shop at local restaurants and shops that report excess inventory. The app can even send push notifications to your device to notify you of nearby product offerings.
11. Imperfect Foods
Location: 41 US states (most of the West South Central region, Midwest, Northeast, and all along the West Coast)
According to Imperfect Foods, visually unappealing food deserves love, too. This subscription box service sends affordable groceries to your door that would otherwise go to waste, whether that’s due to the way they look or as a result of a surplus.
The food is perfectly edible (and delicious), but only particular food tends to be allowed onto the shelves due to grocery stores’ strict guidelines.
The best part? You get to see what’s about to be sent to you before it’s sent and remove the items you don’t want!
12. Misfits Market
Location: 44 US States
Much like Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market was created to give unique-looking food a home.
The company works directly with farmers and food producers to discover inefficiencies in the food system and sell food that would otherwise go to waste. Their products are sold for up to 40% off grocery store prices, and they deliver right to your door.
13. Hungry Harvest
Delivery: the US (Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, Greater Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, Northern Delaware, South Florida, The Triangle Area & Charlotte in North Carolina & the Detroit Metro Area)
Like the previous two, Hungry Harvest rescues and sells affordable farm-fresh fruits and veggies that would otherwise go to waste. Every single delivery saves at least 10 pounds of food from going to the landfill.
Hungry Harvest also donates food to local organizations to those in need. Since 2014, Hungry Harvest rescued over 27 million pounds of produce and provided over 1.7 million pounds to people in need.
Apps for giving away extra food to people in need:
One of the most disturbing aspects of the food waste crisis is that millions of people going hungry could use that food. These apps help do justice by getting leftover food to those who need it.
14. Food Rescue US
Location: 21 US States
The Food Rescue US app specializes in connecting businesses with surplus food to hunger relief organizations. It also helps volunteers easily transport the food from location to location.
Whether you want to sign your business up for the app or volunteer to help transport food, this app is a great way to minimize food waste and give back to the community. At the moment, the Food Rescue US app has helped over 75 million meals stay out of landfills and get to those who need them most.
15. Food Rescue Hero
Location: the US
This app helps volunteers serve their community by transporting excess food from point A to point B. It matches users with the non-profits serving food near them and guides them to the locations.
A “rescue” can be performed whenever the user has free time. In addition, the app provides background information on each of the non-profits so “rescuers” can get information about the organizations they are serving.
Location: New York
This app helps connect users with leftover food following their significant events to charitable organizations. Once they collect food, then they redistribute it to those in need.
The app connects volunteers, Uber drivers, and Lyft drivers with the event planners to ensure the food is picked up and delivered.
17. No Food Waste
This India-based app uses crowdsourcing to locate “hunger spots” in India and redistribute extra food to those places. If the food can feed more than 50 people, the No Food Waste app team will pick up and deliver the food to hunger spots.
Users drop off food at designated hunger spots (marked on the app) themselves if the food can feed less than 50 people.
Yo No Desperdicio is a Spain-based food waste app. Users post food that they no longer need, along with details describing the food.
If users see an item they want, they can schedule a meet-up to collect the items and perhaps even swap items. The app essentially serves as a social media app for preventing food waste.
What else can I do to reduce food waste at home?
Apart from using food waste apps, you can use several at-home tactics to become a more conscious consumer. Here are a few ideas:
- Compost. Composting is a great way to continue the lifecycle of your food by turning it into food for plants. Learn more about it, and see all the composting methods you can choose from here.
- Make a grocery list. It’s easy to get into the habit of going to the grocery store hungry and without a list. Unfortunately, doing so can easily result in you buying far too much food. By making a list (and sticking to it), you’ll only buy what you can eat and ultimately waste less.
- Utilize your freezer. If you realize that you won’t finish something before its expiration date, remember that we have freezers for a reason! The freezer will keep your food from spoiling long after its expiration date – thaw it out whenever you want to eat it.
Food waste is an epidemic all around the world, but especially in the US.
Preventing this waste has so many benefits as it saves money & resources, helps feed the hungry, and is much better for the environment.
Downloading food waste apps are great for anyone, no matter your motivation for preventing food waste.
Did I miss a fantastic food waste app? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!
Also, check out Capital One Shopping’s visual below with (most) of the food apps from this list, where they operate, and which devices to use them on: