Over a trillion dollars’ worth of food, at least 30% of the world’s total production, goes uneaten (Boston Consulting Group, 2018). What can be done to reduce this figure? Amongst policy solutions and global campaigns to counter this problem, a number of innovative digital solutions have presented themselves. Here are five interesting projects which we have come across in Europe recently:
This French platform digitally connects professionals with surplus food items with different feeding programs and shelters. For logistics requirements, they make use of a large network of volunteers, ordinary citizens who can make deliveries from point A to point B. Think of it as food delivery services, made accessible to the hungry…for free.
HopHopFood (also French) between individual donors and recipients, and provides a platform to share information on available food surplus and where one in need may go to pick it up. Volunteer are also welcome to pick up oversupply at partner merchants, to then distribute it as needed. Finally, shelves for food surplus (garde-mangers solidaires) are also constructed in convenient locations, for simpler access. By the end of 2019, they are hoping to reach at least 20,000 users.
This Belgian startup collects unsold goods from partner merchants in the evening and puts them for sale online at deep discounts. One can then go to their « food trucks » to pick up their purchases.
One cannot talk about innovation in food waste nowadays without hearing about Copenhagen-based Too Good To Go, who are in 14 European countries at present. Like Happy Hours Market, one can « book » unsold food via the app at low prices, although users must then pick up their purchases at the partner merchants at predetermined times (often in the evening, before closing time). While users can choose the store/restaurant their food comes from, the particular items are surprises, depending on what existing surplus is.
What about personal habits at home? How we shop, organise our pantries, and plan meals all play a role in the reduction of food waste. This is where apps like CozZo (from Bulgaria) come in. This app, currently only available for iPhone users, helps you keep track of expiry dates with automatic reminders and an inventory of what you already have available in your kitchen. No more buying an unnecessary extra tub of yogurt when you have one buried at the back of the fridge!
These are only a few of the options available to individuals and to companies which are concerned about the food waste they generate. There are many other solutions which exist, each one with specific aspects of the problem to be targeted. Which one would work for you? Have you used one of these platforms before? To share your experiences, or tell us about a solution you’ve developed, join our Facebook group !