People waste an outrageous amount of food. Between farmers, manufacturers, grocery stores and consumers, more than 1.3 billion tonnes of consumable food were tossed away last year. That’s enough to build a mountain 3 kilometres wide and 2500 meters high.
More and more food gets thrown away at each stage of production. Many farmers overproduce in order to keep up with demand, yet much of it goes to waste. Even more food is lost during transportation and processing, as manufacturers fail to adopt environmentally-conscious practices.
The average European supermarket tosses about 400 Euros worth of vegetables, fruits and bread on a daily basis. This is usually done because the products are no longer visually appealing to the customer.
And then there’s the consumer. Roughly 30% of the food we buy (and some even estimate closer to 50%), gets tossed away into our kitchen bins.
As with many issues, people have turned to technology to help alleviate some of the damage. Dozens of companies have developed innovative ways of reducing food waste. Here’s our guide to some of the best applications that can keep great food out of the trash bin.
In your home:
Thanks to Uber and AirBnb, a few taps on a smartphone can get you a ride in someone else’s car or accommodation in someone else’s home. And now, thanks to Yo No Desperdicio, it can also get you a plate of your neighbour’s leftovers. This Spanish NGO aims to prevent food waste around Spanish cities by proving people the option to give away their extra food to others nearby, rather than wastefully throwing it away.
In the supermarket:
To keep picky customers coming back, grocery stores commonly throw away fruits and vegetables that are less-than-perfect, yet still perfectly edible. To combat this unfortunate trend, a German startup has created Foodloop, allowing grocery stores to alert people in the area of the imperfect, but tasty, vegetables that are gonna be thrown away.
Every day, restaurants throw away food which has been prepared, but unordered by customers. In response to this, a Danish startup has developed an application called Too Good to Go, allowing consumers to purchase these perfectly good dishes before they’re thrown away. Its cheap for the consumer, beneficial for the restaurant and the environment is better off!
Food waste is a global issue that isn’t gonna be solved with a single app. But thankfully, the initiatives haven’t stopped there. More and more innovations are tackling the issue, and policies are gradually becoming more progressive. Most importantly, awareness is growing and habits are changing. Even if your fruit isn’t gorgeous, it may still be delicious, and it certainly doesn’t belong in a trash bin.
Elias Rizek – The Grid BCN