Around the world, innovators are coming up with high-tech ways to tackle food waste. In this six-part series, we look at innovative apps set to tackle food waste. Number 1: NoFoodWasted.
Food waste is a huge problem and one that’s getting worse. In developing countries, the waste tends to happen at the beginning of the chain due to inferior harvesting, storing and cooling techniques. But in more developed countries, it’s consumer behaviour that tends to be the biggest cause of waste.
While many of the problems will require systematic change on a global level, others are solvable by smaller behavioural or process changes. And it’s these that software developers are seeking to address with a range of applications that are designed to keep food out of the waste bin.
There is an app for that
From farm to fork, if there is wastage in the food supply chain, the chances are there’s an app for that. In this six-part series, we look at high-tech solutions that are at the forefront of the fight against food waste.
NoFoodWasted is an app based in the Netherlands that is aiming to reduce food waste by 50 per cent within five years. An idea that came about in 2013 when CEO August de Vocht found himself in a supermarket wondering what would happen to the discounted chicken on display if he didn’t buy it.
“We want to save as much fresh food from the bin as possible.”- August de Vocht, NoFoodWasted
The app alerts users to food that has been discounted in around 150 supermarkets in the Netherlands so they can prevent it going to waste and pick up a bargain in the process. It has been downloaded 77,000 times and has so far achieved 13 per cent of its goal.
“I wanted to find a solution that meant consumers and businesses worked together to reduce the incredible amount of food that is wasted every year.” said de Vocht. “It’s a particular problem in the Netherlands, so part of our role is to raise awareness of the issue among the population and give supermarkets and consumers an easy way of addressing it.”
So far, the reaction has been positive. Despite having to put a little more effort in to scan available products, supermarkets have found new markets for goods approaching the end of their shelf life. They have also seen increased engagement with shoppers seeking bargains and get to view how well they are tackling food waste through the included performance dashboard.
Consumer feedback is positive as well. Not only do they get discounts, they can set up personalised alerts with their favourite stores and track how much they are saving.
“We’re doing OK, but we want to do more,” added de Vocht. “We’re currently looking at ways of expanding the offer to include hotels, restaurants and petrol stations and investigating the possibility of moving into other markets such as Germany, Belgium and maybe the UK. Most importantly, we want to broaden our reach so we save as much fresh food from the bin as possible.”
Curious about the other innovations featured in this series about food waste apps, see: