Are You Looking To Help Reduce Food Waste? Check Out These 4 Apps
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Katelyn Rodriguez. Find her on Instagram at @katelynrodwrites. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what restaurants and bakeries do with the products they have left over at the end of the day? Well, I know I have. There are a lot of locally owned bakeries and restaurants around my hometown and I know their unsold food has to go somewhere. However, I recently stumbled across a TikTok about an app being used to help minimize food waste from local businesses. I was immediately intrigued by this concept and discovered to do some research of my own. If you’re also looking for apps for food waste reduction, here is some more information on the most popular ones.
What is the effect of food waste?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste affects the environment in a variety of ways. For example, the EPA’s website explains how wasted food produces methane in landfills, while also adding to the emission of greenhouse gas. Additionally, nonprofit charity Feeding America estimates that each year in the United States “119 billion pounds of food is wasted.” When it comes to avoiding wasting food in our own lives, the variety of apps available to help reduce food waste is a good way to start decreasing our environmental footprint.
Too Good To Go
The app I came across on TikTok is called Too Good To Go. It was founded in 2016 in Copenhagen and has since made its way across the pond. The app lets users ‘rescue’ unsold food from local businesses that register through its website. The unsold food is placed on the app in the form of a surprise bag that is then sold for a low price — usually around $5.99, but sometimes less or more depending on the business. Not only does this prevent leftover food from being thrown away, but it also helps these businesses make a little more income while increasing their visibility through the app. Upon seeing that the businesses on the app expanded to my local area, I downloaded it and discovered four businesses (three bakeries and a poke bowl restaurant) I hadn’t heard of before. Although the $5.99 mystery bags for the day were sold out, I definitely plan on ordering from them when the opportunity for purchasing a bag arises. Currently, Too Good To Go is available in cities across the United States, such as San Francisco, Phoenix, Austin, Chicago and New York. In order to see if there are options available near you its website suggests downloading the app and creating a free account.
Other apps for food waste
Similar to Too Good To Go, the app Flashfood was launched in 2016 in Toronto. Since its launch, The New York Times states that “Flashfood now works with more than 1,400 supermarkets in the United States and Canada.” Through the app, users can find retailers near them that offer discounts up to half price on food items. Users can choose what items they want before paying in the app and picking up their order. Based on the map on Flashfood’s website, the service is predominantly available in the midwest and eastern parts of the United States at grocers such as HyVee, Family Fare, Meijer and Stop and Shop to name a few. Those interested in using Flashfood can use the location finder to see if there is a participating location near them.
The next app is called Next Plate and it was founded in 2022 and allows users in Los Angeles and Pasadena to find discounted food from restaurants, bakeries and cafés for up to 60% off. According to its website, the company also partners with businesses that support its mission but don’t necessarily have extra food. Instead, they opt to provide users with deals from those restaurants. Additionally, the app has partnered with the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to provide students with discounts for food establishments around campus. Next Plate also gives back to students facing food insecurity by offering a free food program. “Students facing food insecurity can reach out to us and apply for this program. If the student is approved, we’ll provide a stipend for the student to purchase surplus food through our platform for free,” Next Plate’s website states under the Become A Partner tab.
Karma was founded in Sweden in 2016 and is very similar to Too Good To Go. Through the app businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries can upload excess food and sell it at a discounted price for users to purchase. The app currently works with over 9,000 businesses across Sweden, the UK and France, according to its website and has rescued over 1,200 tons of food that would’ve otherwise gone unsold.
These are just some of the apps working to bring awareness to the issue of food waste across the globe. By using these apps, users are not only saving money by purchasing discounted food items, but they are also helping these businesses gain visibility while being sustainable. While some apps are currently only available in specific locations, I recommend continuing to check if they’ve added new ones over the coming months.
Have you used any of these apps for food waste? Let us know in the comments!