One-third of the world’s food ends up in landfills, while almost a billion people around the globe are hungry. If food waste were a country, it would be the third leading producer of carbon emissions after the United States and China.
Fortunately, organizations and individuals around the world have developed and promoted numerous apps to alleviate the problem. These apps help connect farmers to consumers, retailers to charities and growers to intermediaries. We’re highlighting 16 apps and their smart efforts to reduce hunger and eliminate waste.
Feedie turns food photography into a charitable donation. Users visit a participating restaurant in the United States or South Africa and take a photo of their meal. Then, they share the photo on Facebook or Twitter and the restaurant makes a donation to The Lunchbox Fund, a nonprofit donating meals to impoverished schoolchildren in South Africa. For every 500 restaurants that sign up, 5,000 children in South African schools receive enough meals for one year. The app encourages foodies to share their passion while contributing to a good cause.
A family member’s horror after catering an event that disposed of $5,000 worth of food inspired the creation of Flashfood. The app prevents food waste in the United States and Canada in two ways: It re-sells grocery foods approaching their best-before date at a discount, and it saves “not good enough” retail items and ships them to customers. Farmers and growers also can give Flashfood items that were rejected by grocers, to be sent to environmental-conscious consumers.
3. Food Cowboy
Food Cowboy arranges efficient communication between food donors and charities and fast delivery of excess food in the United States. Delivery drivers, caterers and anyone working with large volumes of edible but rejected food create alerts in the app. Food pantries, processors and composters immediately receive these alerts and contact the source for delivery arrangements. Food Cowboy charges a small commission for the service. For instance, a food bank can buy as much as they can store for 10 cents per pound.
4. Food for All
Food for All eliminates last-minute restaurant food waste in Boston and New York City. It connects customers to restaurants one hour before they close, for meal discounts as high as 80 percent. Customers can enter their location and explore nearby deals, and they pick up their order at a time specified by the restaurant. Users also can donate food to people in need through the app.
5. Food Rescue Hero
Food Rescue Hero turns average eaters into food heroes. The app connects users with nonprofits who serve those who are food insecure. Helping guide “heroes” to locations to pick up or drop off food, the app boasts a rescue schedule flexible enough to accommodate daily, weekly or once-only rescues — and each rescue takes as little as 30 minutes. The app also gives heroes information about the nonprofit’s work, mission and impact.
6. Food Rescue US
The Food Rescue US app fights food insecurity by connecting food donors with hunger relief organizations. The app targets anyone who wants to donate or receive food. Users answer a few questions and then request a food pick-up. The algorithm matches surplus food to a nearby shelter and sends a driver to transport the food. More than 2,200 registered volunteers have rescued and delivered 23.1 million meals to people in need.
Foodfully aims to inspire thoughtful consumption of food before its expiration date. Foodfully has a connection to more than 14 grocery stores in the U.S. and their loyalty cards. Every time a user makes a purchase with a loyalty card, the app records the transaction. The app also can scan receipts and record manually entered purchases. Users manage their food items on the app by entering them in the fridge and freezer, deleting the consumed ones and throwing food away. Foodfully arranges items by perishable dates and sends the user notifications before they go bad. Additionally, the app suggests recipes based on what is available in the user’s fridge.