13 Food Waste Apps To Save You Money and Help the Planet
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It should come as no surprise that the U.S. produces a lot of food waste, but the data may still shock you. According to the USDA, 30%-40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted. That’s 80 billion pounds of food per year that ends up in landfills rather than peoples’ bellies. It’s no wonder why we’re seeing an increase in innovative efforts to mitigate this crisis, with perhaps the most prominent effort being the creation of food waste apps.
Food waste apps equip consumers to participate in the fight against food waste, helping them both minimize the waste they produce and redistribute food to those in need.
Let’s explore the available options so you can join the effort to create a more sustainable world. We’ve categorized our list of apps into three sections: those that help track and prevent food expiration, those that connect businesses with consumers and those that help the community.
Food Waste Apps That Track & Prevent Food Expiration
In essence, Fridgely is a food expiry app that notifies you when your food is about to go bad. The average family wastes 25% of their food every year, and Fridgely’s mission is to lower that number. You don’t have to worry about manually entering every item you buy — just scan the item’s barcode to provide the app with everything it needs to know (including expiration date)!
Not only does the app sync between devices, but you can even invite family members or housemates to join your team and add or modify food items.
NoWaste is another food expiry app that helps you minimize the waste you produce at home. The app offers several features to make this possible, including allowing you to set expiration dates for the food in your house (whether they be in the pantry, fridge or freezer) and sending notifications when items are about to expire.
For added motivation, the app helps you keep tabs on how much food you’ve wasted and even allows you to connect with the rest of the NoWaste community to share personal food waste stats for accountability.
With OLIO, community and food waste prevention are intertwined. If you purchased too much of something or plan not to use it, just snap a picture and see if anyone in your neighborhood wants it. This innovative food-sharing platform is a great way to make friends, support your local community and fight food waste at the same time.
The BestBefore app operates similarly to other food expiry apps we’ve seen — simply scan the barcode of the food you buy and track when it is about to expire. The app relies on crowdsourcing, as users support each other by uploading food items that the barcode scanner doesn’t recognize. Sync your info across multiple devices on the cloud to make food waste prevention a collaborative effort!
Food Waste Apps That Connect Businesses With Consumers
It’s no secret that businesses like grocery stores and restaurants contribute to food waste. After all, many businesses who throw away food are doing so to avoid distributing it past its sell by or best by dates. The following apps help businesses do their part by connecting them with consumers who can distribute food and keep it out of the trash.
So, what is Flashfood? The Flashfood app locates groceries near you that are nearing their best by dates and can be purchased at a discounted rate (up to 50% off). The best part? You can pay for your groceries using the app!
Flashfood currently operates in select stores in 10 U.S. states as well as several Canadian provinces, but is continually expanding. To see if you live near any participating stores, check their locations page.
6. Food for All
Restaurants are perhaps the biggest food waste culprits, generating 22 billion to 33 billion pounds of food waste each year. Food for All allows restaurants the opportunity to rectify this. The app connects restaurants with customers an hour before closing time, allowing customers to buy food that would otherwise be thrown out at a significantly discounted price — up to 80% off, in fact.
App users simply need to enter their location and explore the deals in their area. The app even provides people with the opportunity to donate food to others in need.
The Too Good To Go app helps you locate restaurants, supermarkets, cafes and bakeries near you that have signed up to support the fight against food waste by selling their unsold food at a discount. Just open the app, find a nearby participating location, place your order and pick up your food at a fraction of the original cost.
While the app began in Denmark and first spread into other Scandinavian and European countries, Too Good To Go United States is now up and running. After experiencing success in New York City, it is quickly mobilizing efforts to spread into other cities across the U.S.
YourLocal is another Scandinavia-based app with a focus on saving food. The app mobilizes communities to fight food waste by picking up surplus food from local restaurants and grocery stores for as low as 30% of the original price. If you currently live in Denmark or New York, this is the app for you. If not, keep an eye out as the rise in awareness of food waste is increasing the demand for participating cities.
Food Waste Apps That Help the Community
One of the biggest tragedies of the food waste crisis is that there are still food insecure people in need of their next meal. These apps are committed to making positive change by getting leftover food to those who need it most.
If you’re looking for a way to volunteer and support food insecure communities, the Food Rescue US app is for you. This app helps to connect businesses with surplus food to hunger relief organizations. It matches locations with extra food to local shelters and other social service organizations. It also helps volunteers transport the food from point A to point B.
Presently, over 9,800 volunteers have saved 75 million meals and transported them to people in need, keeping tens of millions more pounds of excess food out of landfills.
10. Food Rescue Hero
Food Rescue Hero is another app that provides users with the opportunity to serve their communities by transporting food donations to those in need. It matches users with nonprofits serving food insecure individuals and helps guide them to these locations.
The app is efficient and accommodating, too — a rescue can be completed in as little as 30 minutes, allowing “heroes” to participate whenever they have the time to do so. It also provides background information about each nonprofit, allowing participants to develop a relationship with the organizations they serve.
If you or your company host large events that generate huge amounts of leftover food, Transfernation is the food waste app for you. This New York City-based app gets volunteers, Uber drivers and Lyft drivers to pick up leftovers from large gatherings and bring them to shelters, soup kitchens and other charitable organizations.
This system also ensures that everyone who participates benefits from their service. Food donors receive tax write-offs, volunteers receive a fixed payment for each pickup and the organizations that provide for food insecure individuals get free food deliveries — win-win-win!
12. No Food Waste
The No Food Waste app serves residents of India, using crowdsourcing to locate hunger spots in India and facilitate the redistribution of surplus food to those areas. After users enter a place they deem as food insecure, the No Food Waste team verifies the location and adds it to the app’s database.
The app’s logistics depend on how much food is being donated. If it’s enough food to feed 50 people, No Food Waste will pick up and deliver the food. For less than that, users drop off the food themselves at specific collection points marked on the map. The app currently boasts over 835,000 plates served.
Yo No Despercido (“I do not waste” in Spanish) is a Spain-based food sharing app. Users snap a picture of food items they no longer want and offer details about those items, such as quantity and expiration date. If a user sees an item of interest, they can private message the first party and offer an item of theirs to organize a swap. The app also serves as a form of social media, allowing users to share recipes and food waste prevention tips with one another.
Food Waste FAQs
Before you begin downloading these apps to get involved in the fight against food waste, you may have some additional questions about the severity of the issue as well as what you can do to help.
How Much Food Do Grocery Stores Throw Away?
According to RTS, grocery store food waste is massive — approximately 30% of food in U.S. grocery stores ends up in the landfill. Specifically, Natural Resources Defense Council data suggests that about 43 billion pounds of food from grocery stores are wasted annually.
Why Do Restaurants Throw Away Food?
The primary culprit of restaurant food waste is via top-level decisions. When the amount of food that restaurants estimate they need and purchase is greater than what they actually use, there could be leftovers. When restaurants lack a plan to effectively distribute those leftovers, they get thrown out.
While there isn’t a clear solution to this issue, better data collection and greater restaurant participation in food waste prevention initiatives is a good start.
Is It Possible To Achieve No Food Waste?
It is certainly possible to achieve no food waste — it just takes some awareness, forethought and practice. Some great starting points include extending the life span of food (through pickling, canning, drying, freezing, etc.), composting leftover food and, of course, using food waste apps such as those listed above to get unused food to people who need it most.
Is There an App for Leftover Food?
There are several apps for leftover food, including Flashfood, Food for All, Food Rescue US, Transfernation, Too Good To Go and YourLocal. These apps either notify users when food at restaurants and grocery stores is about to expire or mobilize volunteers to bring leftovers to food insecure communities.
While most of these apps primarily operate in Denmark and New York, they are quickly expanding across the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Combating food waste is a major challenge, especially when there are so many forces at play. Whether your motivation is
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