Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: OLIO/Too Good To Go/Pixabay. Photo edit: Luana Steffen)
Sustainability Technology

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one-third of all food produced per year is spoiled before consumed, equaling 1.3 billion tons of wasted food. Research also suggests that high-income countries waste as much food as sub-Saharan Africa produces. That’s a lot of food!

Food waste in the U.S. is so abundant that it amounts to between 30 to 40% of all food produced. Unfortunately, instead of feeding a hungry person, leftover food is sent to a landfill, turning into methane gas as it decomposes – significantly contributing to greenhouse gases (GHGs).

When this is combined with the amount of energy it takes to harvest, manufacture, transport, and store this food, it contributes up to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the planet. To put that into perspective, if food waste was a country – it would be the third-highest emitter of GHGs in the world, after the U.S. and China.

Thankfully, various sustainable, anti-food waste apps and businesses are working together to reduce global food waste by keeping food out of landfills and into hungry tummies.

OLIO – Sustainability App

Community sustainability app OLIO has recently announced a $43million Series B round to fund its fight against global food waste.

OLIO, founded in 2015 by Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, has gained a user base of five million people. This app is used to give away unwanted food and household items to neighbors for free. Its main goal is to reduce in-home waste and help people to consume locally and sustainably.

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: OLIO)

Clarke devised OLIO after struggling to find someone to take the unwanted food from her fridge when she moved home. Since its launch, the app has saved more than 25 million portions of food and three million non-food items from going to the landfill.

Eventually, OLIO plans to expand worldwide, focusing on ten main markets in Northern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, where the app has seen strong organic growth.

Clarke explained:

OLIO has grown five times over the last year, reflecting a step change that’s taken place as businesses and citizens look to be more sustainable and connect with their local communities. We’re beyond thrilled to have raised this capital from a brilliant set of investors who are backing our vision of reinventing consumption for more than one billion OLIOers by 2030.

 

We have this enormous ambition because humanity cannot continue to puzzle over how to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees and feed a population of 10 billion – while continuing to throw away one-third of the food we produce and consume as if we have 1.75 planets. In solving these twin problems, we aim to build one of the most transformational companies of our generation.

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: OLIO)

The funds will go towards fast-tracking the rollout of OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes program in the U.K. and other international markets. The Food Waste Heroes Programme supports restaurants and food businesses worldwide in their quest to achieve zero food waste.

So far, OLIO has more than 30,000 Food Waste Heroes. They are trained members of the community collecting and redistributing unserved or unsold food from businesses such as Costa Coffee, Compass Catering, Elior, and Pret A Manger. Tesco is the latest retailer to join the program, with 2,700 UK stores now redistributing extra food nearing its sell-by date via OLIO’s scheme.

Aside from connecting neighbors to give away food and household items, OLIO also offers a ‘MADE’ section for users to buy & sell handmade crafts and local homemade food; ‘GOALS,’ which reveals over 100 simple hacks to living more sustainably; and it will launch new features: ‘BORROW’ and ‘WANTED,’ within six months.

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: OLIO)

Too Good To Go – Anti-Food Waste App

Too Good To Go, named a winner in the apps category of Fast Company’s 2021 World-Changing Ideas Award, is an anti-food-waste app that lets you buy whatever food your favorite restaurant has left when it is near closing time. Whether it’s a pasta dish, fresh sushi, or a delicious dessert, you never know what you will get; it’s always a surprise.

According to Fast Company, since the portions left at the end of the day are usually too small of an amount for food banks to pick up, restaurants would wind up throwing the extra food away – and that is precisely what this app intends to avoid.

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: Too Good To Go)

The service is free for customers to use, and the app takes a cut from the sales price of the food, which is typically about one-third of the cost of ordering from the menu. Finally, as part of being environmentally conscious, Too Good To Go doesn’t do deliveries; therefore, customers have to pick up their meals in person.

Other food-waste apps exist, including Food for All, Food Rescue Hero, Food Cloud, GOMKT, GOODR, Waste NO Food, and Tango Tab: When You Eat, They Eat. However, none of them include the surprise element that you get from the one-price bag of whatever the restaurant has left to offer at the end of the day. All you have to do is order on the app and pick up your bag. It’s that simple.

Three Londoners who started Too Good To Go: Chris Wilson, Jamie Crummie, and Jimmy Wu
Three Londoners who started Too Good To Go: Chris Wilson, Jamie Crummie, and Jimmy Wu. (Credit: Alex Lentati)

In addition to partnering with restaurants and cafes, the app also connects with coffee shops, grocers, food stores, and anywhere food is wasted. Well-known NYC establishments, including Stumptown Coffee, Tartinery, Black Seed Bagels, and Breads Bakery, have all signed on. The latest to sign up is Pret A Manger, an international sandwich shop franchise chain based in the U.K. Pret currently has over 460 shops in the U.K., with 317 of those locations in London.

Pret A Manger Partners With Too Good To Go

Pret A Manger and Too Good To Go have recently announced their joint partnership following a successful pilot across 30 shops. Now, every Pret shop that sells hot food is live on the Too Good To Go app. In addition, all Magic bags purchased via the app will comprise unsold hot food items, which cannot be redistributed through The Pret Foundation to local communities and charities.

As a bonus, 50% of all proceeds will go to The Pret Foundation to aid those in need, continuing Pret’s mission to tackle hunger, poverty, and homelessness.

Pret highlights that it’s fully committed to helping those in need by donating unsold items when shops close every day. So far, consumers have rescued 19,700 Magic Bags of food, saving more than 49,345 kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) from being wasted. Their goal is that the extended partnership will lead to 1,055 tonnes of CO2e being saved annually.

Pret a Manger
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Ellen Jones, Pret A Manger’s Global Head of Sustainability, noted:

We’re excited to be partnering with Too Good To Go to continue our efforts to tackle food waste. At Pret, one of our core values is doing the right thing, and this is underpinned by the Pret Foundation and donating our unsold food to local charities at the end of each day.

 

Through this new partnership, we are excited to expand our efforts to reduce food waste by safely distributing our growing range of hot food items through the Too Good To Go Magic Bag collections.

Paschalis Loucaides, Too Good To Go’s U.K. Managing Director, said:

I’m thrilled to have rolled out our partnership with Pret. Pret has a long-standing reputation for doing the right thing and already does a fantastic job at making sure their unsold fresh food is redistributed through The Pret Foundation at the end of each day.

 

However, hot food poses more of a challenge, and this is where we are able to help. Our nationwide community of Waste Warriors is ready and waiting to snap up the Pret Magic Bags on our app to ensure that this hot food is eaten and enjoyed instead of wasted.

Loucaides stressed that the number one solution to fighting climate change is reducing food waste. He is confident that Pret’s partnership with Too Good To Go could ensure food is not wasted worldwide, thus protecting our planet’s future.

Sustainable Food Apps Fighting Global Food Waste
(Credit: Pret)

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