SEATTLE—As technology has become more accessible and essential, it has also developed into a powerful medium for creating change throughout the world. Several technological applications have emerged to address the problem of food waste.
Determined to fight food waste and insecurity, these businesses give power to the people, farmers, restaurants and supermarkets.
A Boston-based company, Spoiler Alert acts as an interactive platform for food businesses, farms and non-profits to better manage food waste. Accessible on any device, the online marketplace allows users to sell and donate food.
Users upload product information, such as price or value, preferred transportation methods and photos.
The platform attempts to reduce businesses’ waste management costs, empower employees and improve the community. Spoiler Alert hopes to expand its small network of food businesses to include manufacturers and distributors throughout New England.
An initiative based in Finland, Froodly gives people the power to reduce supermarket food waste. The mobile app works by encouraging consumers to photograph and report products at supermarkets with still-fresh discounts.
Every time a user uploads a photo and shares it, he or she earns 10 points. Several partnered stores and businesses offer Froodly user rewards, from free coffee to free meals.
The company also gives users the opportunity to become “Froodlers,” top contributors who help spread the word about the Froodly’s goals. Froodlers are eligible to receive additional credits for their efforts.
The app was officially launched in February 2016. It is available on the Finnish App Store and Google Play Store, and it presently has more than 10,000 users and 50 “Froodlers.” Now, Froodly is planning a 2017 international expansion into France.
ResQ Club, a food-rescuing website and app, connects with local restaurants to fight food waste and save leftovers. Launched in January 2016, the application offers Finnish and Swedish restaurants the opportunity to list unconsumed food for sale.
Members can browse through numerous restaurants and food items until they find a dish that interests them. Once they find what they want, they simply select the number of portions they would need and place the order.
As of May 2016, ResQ Club had more than 17,000 registered members and 150 active provider partners and was “rescuing” around 300 food portions every day. The organization currently has participating establishments in Finland and Sweden.
These are just a few of the companies and organizations determined to fight food waste and insecurity worldwide.
Other companies, such as Zéro-Gâchis in France and BuyMeBy in the U.S., also connect with supermarkets. These organizations offer them a mobile platform from which to offer discounts on products approaching their expiration dates.
Although preventable food waste is still prevalent, there are numerous companies with promising initiatives and applications entering the fight. Each tackles this global issue in its own corner of the world, proving the point that many small changes can make a huge difference.
– Jordan J. Phelan