A Guide to the Food Waste Epidemic and Apps to Combat It

Food waste is a serious issue that can produce devastating environmental impacts. Not only is food waste a side effect of a culture of overconsumption, but sending food to landfills actually increases methane emissions.

One of the solutions to this problem is emerging in the form of new apps that aim to reduce food waste. There are many apps that target various sources of food waste to make sure more people get fed and less food ends up in the garbage.

Let’s explore some common questions surrounding the food waste epidemic and what you can do to help.

Is There an App for Leftover Food?

There are several apps that reduce food waste by helping restaurants and grocery stores sell or donate leftovers at the end of the day. 

Some of these apps operate like traditional food delivery services and offer reduced pricing because the food would have been thrown out otherwise. Some examples of these apps are Flashfood and Food for All.

There are also apps that connect users with one another to swap food items that would otherwise spoil, such as OLIO.

Where is Food Wasted?

While the U.S. is certainly a major culprit, as 30-40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted, this problem exists all over the world.

Food waste is very common and makes up a large portion of what we send to landfills. From throwing out fruits and vegetables that look a little different to tossing our sandwich crusts, food waste has become the norm.

Waste is a product of food preparation as well. Think about something as simple as peeling a potato — if it isn’t composted or otherwise reused, that peel has become food waste.

What Can I Do With Unwanted Food?

There are several ways to deal with your unwanted food without throwing it out. Most food can last significantly longer if frozen. You might be sick of the food you have on hand now but in a week or two, you can thaw it out and finish it up.

If reaching out to friends or neighbors yields no takers for your unwanted food, you can use a food trading app or even a Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if someone else can use it.

If your unwanted food isn’t spoiling soon and is unopened, consider donating it to a food pantry in your community.

How Can We Reduce Food Waste?

Food waste apps reduce food waste because they make it so much easier to distribute meals and food items that otherwise would have been thrown out.

You can also reduce your food waste by shopping and eating mindfully. It’s tempting to load up on groceries, but if you’re throwing out a lot of produce each week you should cut back or switch to frozen items where possible to reduce your food waste.

Consider using eco-friendly cooking hacks to use all your kitchen scraps as well. Simple hacks like freezing vegetable scraps to make soup stock add up in your efforts to reduce food waste.

Composting is another great way to reduce food waste. Not only does composting not produce the same methane gas as decomposing food does in a landfill, but your food waste will go to good use in someone’s garden.

What is Food Waste Management?

Food waste management refers to strategies that reduce your food waste. These strategies vary from cooking meals that use up ingredients that would otherwise go bad to donating unopened food that you don’t want or need.

Not only can food waste management save you money, but it also can help you support your neighbors when you donate extra food items.

Which App is Best for Food Items?

Whether you’re looking to order from a restaurant or do some grocery shopping, there’s an app that will source food items for you that would otherwise go to the landfill. 

For a complete round-up of food waste apps and their purposes, check out Capital One Shopping’s infographic below.