With the burgeoning ease of sourcing food, the issue of food waste has multiplied. The irony is that both hunger and food wastage are increasing. It simply means that we don’t lack the food, but we lack the source to bridge the gap between the extra food and that of hungry folk.
Nothing but technology is the solution to this gap. Just as mobile applications have helped to connect the provider and seeker, they are doing the same in this aspect. Numerous Food Waste Apps are battling the issue in their way.
What Is Food Waste?
Food waste, or what should be called wasted food, is the term used to define food that was not consumed for any reason and has been left to get wasted. It includes the leftover on plates, throwing the uneaten cooked food, peels of vegetables, the bit of inappropriately cooked food, spoiled food, unsold food, or any edible that was not consumed. Whenever the food doesn’t manage to complete its journey to the consumption phase, it is termed food waste.
What Are Food Waste & Donation Management Apps?
The mobile application that assists in reducing food waste and ensures the sustainable management of leftover food in a better and more efficient way is called the food waste app. There are two best solutions for reducing food waste that cause a negative impact on the economy as well as the environment. First one is delivering the edible food to the one in need. Second is managing the spoiled food according to their respective nature instead of blind landfill. So, the food waste app makes arrangements for both points.
How Can Mobile Apps Help Reduce Food Waste?
Plenty of mobile apps reduce food waste and deliver the food to its respective purpose. However, the way of doing this is not the same for all the apps. Every app has its own working principle for ensuring the sustainable management of food. The variation of working principles is somehow a better solution. Different ways of sustainable management help ensure that only a particular group of needy does not benefit and excess food is distributed to the different social groups.
1. Unsold Food At Lower Rates
There might be a lot of reasons for some food remaining unsold in a store or food outlet. It doesn’t mean that the food is not consumable. In these cases, it might not be feasible for the store owner to give away that food for nothing. So, some of the food waste apps help in selling these food products to customers or needy ones at significantly lower rates. These types of deals usually provide a discount of 40%-50% on food items.
2. A Bridge Between NGOs And Food Outlets
It is one of the most used principles for food waste management apps. The application connects the food outlets to NGOs that distribute food among the needy. A volunteer collects all the food from restaurants at the end of the day and delivers it to one in need and unable to afford it.
3. Neighborhood Food Sharing
Not only are the restaurants, hotels, and food outlets responsible for the food wastage, but the households are equally. According to the stats, Americans waste one-third of all food they purchase annually. So, many of the apps provide a basic solution for the same. The app helps the users to list the leftover or excess food that can be consumed. The people in nearby areas or neighborhoods can access the list and contact the first person to take the food. This neighborhood-sharing concept of food is an excellent way of sustainable food waste management.
4. Food Donation
The apps even allow the direct donation of food to the needy. Restaurants and eateries can donate the food to charities and community groups such as homeless support and family support services. There can be regularity as well as random listing.
5. Expiration Reminder
According to the reports, around 20% of food wastage is caused due to confusion in food labeling.
Many people throw the food just to be on the safe side as they don’t know the difference between expiry date, best before date, use by date, sell-by date, etc. So, the mobile applications have arrived with the solution. People in households or merchants at eateries can scan packed food’s barcodes. The app will send a reminder to the owner when the food is about to expire. So, the food will not be thrown away before the expiry date, and when the expiry date seems to be approaching, the owner can take better steps for sustainable management of that food.
Also read: Snackpass: Building a social food ordering mobile app
Food Waste- A Global Problem
Not only countries like America, England, Australia, China, India, and Europe, but tens of other countries contribute to the significant waste of food. According to the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2021 Food Waste Index, 931 million food is generated annually worldwide. Around 569 tonnes of this waste comes from households, while the remaining portion is the contribution of food services (244 million tonnes) and retail sectors (118 million tonnes). The data provides the precise calculation that every single person on the planet is causing 74 KGs of waste yearly.
Moreover, according to the facts, if food loss and waste were a country, it would have been the most significant source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.You will find more infographics at Statista
|What Is the Problem?|
|More than 690 million people in the world are hungry. That makes it 8.9% of the total world population. Still, millions of tonnes of food are wasted annually, a major portion of which is consumable. So, wastage by one portion of the population and starving for food by another portion is the main problem.|
|Where Is Food Wasted?|
|In every place where the food is accessed, the food is also wasted. Let it be the eateries, farms, restaurants, homes, hotels, distribution centers, processing centers, or any other food chain point.|
|Reasons Food Gets Wasted|
|Over purchase of food Over cooking of the food spoilageFood expiration Misunderstanding the food expiration, best before, and sell-by dates Poor planning|
|Why Is It Important to Reduce Food Loss and Waste?|
|Around 17% of the total global food production is wasted every year, while at the same time, hunger has constantly been rising since 2014. Reducing food waste and loss is the only solution to eliminate the difference in this landscape. With the hunger index, the blind landfill has also impacted the fertility power of soil. So, reducing food waste and loss is not a topic of mere social concern but also an environmental concern.|
|What Are the Environmental Impacts of Food Waste?|
|The landfill is the primary food waste management technique across the US and the UK. Also, the uneaten food is the largest component of solid municipal solid waste. The landfill food forms methane after breaking down in the particles. Here, methane gas is a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more powerful than that carbon dioxide.|
Food requires a lot of fresh water for production. Talking to the statistics, food waste is responsible for 25% of all freshwater consumption in the US each year. So, food waste is a significant cause of freshwater pollution as well.
|How Can Technology Help in The Food Waste Problem?|
|Technology is not in a single way but helps in the sustainable management of food differently. Consider the following point to get a broad idea of technology’s role in sustainable food management. |
Efficient supply chain An inefficient supply chain and long routes are primary reasons for food wastage. So, several apps like Cheetah assist farmers, traders, and transporters with the best routes to market. The roads with a shorter distance and lower traffic help save a lot of food from getting wasted.
AI for better monitoring AI now monitors not only your eating habits but also your wasting habits. The device named “Winnow” uses its AI abilities to monitor the waste generated by the particular kitchen every day. With smart sensors attached to the bins, it tells everything about the type of food, the quantity of food, as well as the strategies to save the food.
Household wastage solution As studied above, the household is a big part of food waste. So, several apps and devices focus on reducing household food wastage. The “Nosh” is an example of the same. The app tracks the content in the fridge and pantry with its AI capabilities. It then presents tips and suggestions about how to cook and finish everything before its expiry date arrives.
Similarly, Mimica Touch is the other innovation that tells about the freshness of food via a bump in its sticker. If the applied sticker on the food shows a bump when touched, it is referred to as spoiled. On the other hand, if it feels smooth, it is safe to consume.
Types of Food Waste Management Apps
The Source of food waste is not particular, so the type or variety of solutions also can not be particular. Different types of food waste management apps play their respective roles in the landscape to deal with the different sources and causes of food wastage. The types of food waste management apps are but are not limited to:
1. Share Leftover Meal App
Some apps help in the local sharing of food between the neighbors. Users can list all the extra food on the app, and others can simply access the list to claim the food they want. Food can be collected by having the necessary conversation about the pickup point. It can be the home of either party, any midpoint or anything else.
Example: OLIO, is an excellent example of this type of mobile app. The app allows you to share the food in the neighborhood as well as borrow everyday items from the neighbors.
2. Reroute Surplus Foodstuff App
The apps notify the volunteers about the extra food at vendors like restaurants, hotels, eateries, etc. The volunteers then collect that extra food and deliver it to the service agencies, mostly the NGOs. These service agencies distribute all the collected food to the needy and hungry.
Example: Food Rescue US, is the platform that connects food donors to hunger relief organizations. Here, the donor can be a restaurant, hotel, or individual household. The food is automatically picked up from the locations and delivered directly to the needy or the NGO center.
3. Expiry Date Management App
Being a significant cause behind the food wastage, apps have also been developed to communicate the right expiry date. These apps scan food items’ barcodes and send notifications when the food is about to expire. It helps to take the proper steps to prevent the wastage of food by selling it at competitive prices or consuming it when it has already been purchased.
Example: Fridgley is a mobile application that does exactly the same. The application scans your supermarket receipt and tallies all the items you have purchased. Further, it notifies you when anything is about to expire.
4. Suggesting Unique Recipes
When the food is on the edge of expiring, people might not prefer to consume it the usual way. So, the relevant apps share the unique recipes that make such food items tasty and safer to consume.
Example: Fridgely again can be used as a good example here as well. Once notifying you about food that is about to expire in the chasing days, it even shares the unique recipes to the users with what is available in the refrigerator.
5. Manage Storage to Max Usability
Some apps simply guide through the efficient storage tactics so that the food on the shelf doesn’t get expired only because it was not placed well. The app provides the correct arrangement of food on the shelf, refrigerators, almirahs, or warehouses, so that maximum food can be stored while preventing spoilage.
Example: “MyFood: food storage manager” is a good app that helps in sustainable management of the food you have in your fridge and the items you need to finish at the earliest date. The app enables you to store the food in the refrigerator according to its expiration date.
6. End-Of-Day Restaurant Discount Apps
Some restaurants generate a lot of consumable food waste at the end of every day. Also, there are people who would love to take that food at lower prices, if not for free. So, apps have bridged this gap by connecting both stakeholders. Restaurants can list all the excess food by applying a good discount, and people can order or take away food at discounted prices.
Example: Food for All, a similar mobile app that connects customers to restaurants an hour before closing. At this time, they offer meals at discounts as high as 80%. Most of the time, people purchase bulk food from these deals to donate it to the needy ones.
7. All-In-One Super App
When any app comprises all the above features and carries the capability to work on all the principles, it is called the All-In-One Super App. The app has different portals that lets the user surfe through different features as per the requirement of time.
Example: “Nosh” is a perfect example for an all-in-one super app. The app has the feature of smart inventory, expiry date tracking, recipes, shopping list, food at a discounted price, receipt scanning, weekly analytics, and much more.
Benefits of Food Waste Apps
1. For Businesses
- Inventory management will be much more efficient.
- The firm will purchase the sufficient inventory only, which will reduce the cost.
- The expiry tracker informs the kitchen manager about the supplies to be used at the earliest.
- Businesses can sell their extra food at discounted prices, covering the cost of food.
- Restaurants and hotels can take part in volunteership with food waste apps without making any additional or significant efforts.
- The firm doesn’t have to think about landfilling or other management methods of the wasted food.
- The recipes from the apps can be added to the menu.
2. For Users
- People can share their food with their neighbors.
- Users are more aware of the food they have, food that can be stored for a more extended period, and the food they need to consume at the earliest.
- Users can donate their food to the needy ones.
- Apps help in shaping the spending and purchasing habits of users.
- Apps make users more aware of their responsibilities toward society.
- Users know about the discounted deals and offer on edible items from different restaurants and stores.
3. For The Environment
- The smart and shorter routes to the market will help reduce carbon emissions with lesser transport activities.
- The lower landfill will lead to lower methane generation and, thus fewer greenhouse effects.
- Sustainable harvesting and farming will ensure the sustainable use of water and will help eliminate pure water pollution.
- Food waste spoiling in the corner of any square produces poisonous gasses and thus causes air pollution. The use of food waste management apps will address this issue as well.
Features to Add in A Food Waste Management App
Features are the core building element for any app. The usability of the food waste management app is decided based on the features it offers to its users. Irrespective of type of app you wish to develop, some features are meant to be installed in every app.
1. Food Listing
Whether sharing with neighbors, giving to NGOs, selling at discount, or handing over to volunteers, every app must have a food listing feature. Visiting the donors without knowing what is being donated might be a time-wasting idea. So, food listing features help the seeker to know if the giver is donating or providing any relevant food item or not.
2. Easy Payment And Refunds
The apps assisting in grabbing discounted deals for near-expiration-dated food items must have an easy payment and refund option. Buyers should not only be guided only while making the payment but must be provided equal support while claiming the refund in case of spoiled food received.
3. Quick Delivery
As per the associated delivery partner arrangements, it should be ensured that the delivery of the food is quicker. It has already been a while since the food has been prepared, and making delays in delivery might leave no scope for food consumption.
4. Connecting The Relevant Stakeholders
Hotels, restaurants, and eateries are the hub of food wastage as well as excess food generation. On the other hand, NGOs are the ones who need food to distribute among the needy and hungry folks. So, the app should have a feature where restaurants can share their leftover food, and NGOs or other social service agencies can collect that food.
5. Barcode Scanner
Every food waste management app must have a barcode scanner installed to check the food’s life. The app can share information such as the list of ingredients, nutrients, packaging date, expiry date, relevant recipes, etc.
6. Notifications and Alerts
Every app must give notifications and alerts to its users as per the assigned principles. Let it be notifications about new listings of food, requests from the NGO or neighbor, expiration of the food, need for the shopping, new recipe, or anything else; notifications keep the users up to date.
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Popular Food Waste Management Apps
With increasing access to app development and information technology, every second person is introducing their own apps for iOS and Android. However, there are very few of them on which we can rely to deliver the purpose. For example, we can find hundreds of food waste management apps on Google Play Store and Apple store while only a few percent save food. Whether you are looking for such apps for your own usage or you wish to develop an app of your own, you ought to take inspiration from the best apps. So, we are here enlisting some of the best apps delivering their individual purpose:
1. Too Good to Go
When the food is too good to go in waste bins or landfill, this app shows up to put that food in customers’ shopping carts instead of bins. The app allows the shop and store owners to sell food that has not been sold for any reason at a discounted price to attract customers. At the same time, the customers get a great deal on packed food products via this app. The app is being used by more than 10M google play store users.
Surplus food is a big reason for food waste. So, this app comes with the concept that the restaurant can sell its surplus food at major discounts to the customers. Customers can choose the fresh surplus food they want to get, make the payment online through the app and pick up the food at a decided time as take away. Along with sustainable management of extra food, the app also sources affordable meals for many.
Olio is an app that assists in the sharing of food and other necessities among the neighbors. Users can simply list the food item or anything they wish to share; another user from the neighborhood can claim from the listing and collect the meal or item from the decided pickup point. Sharing items can be anything; however, it is mostly food and surplus meals. The app has secured more than 5M downloads on Google Play Store.
Best before and expiry dates are prominent reasons behind the wastage of food. So, FlashFood helps grocery stores sell food products, meats, and other products which are nearing their best before the date at a discounted price. Customers can choose the discounted food item from the app, pay with a credit or debit card, and collect the order from the store by confirming it at the customer service desk. The services of the app are available all over the US and Canada.
5. Food Rescue US
To ensure that edible products are not going to landfills, Food Rescue US engages the volunteers to transfer the fresh food from local businesses, and restaurants to social service agencies that serve the food insecurities. The platform has helped provide 100M meals to those in need while saving 126M lbs of food from landfill.
ChompHK has made the concept of sustainable food management a little fun for its users. The app is dedicated to Hong Kong users only. This app lets restaurants and store owners pack their food or surplus items in surprise and mystery boxes. Customers can then buy these mystery boxes from the app only by making the payment. The mystery box can be collected from the store, which might be carrying your next lunch, dinner, or tasty evening snacks at discounted prices.
NoWaste is particularly designed to control household wastage of food. By enlisting the items in the freezer and pantry, users can quickly get guidance on which food needs to be consumed first, what things need to be purchased, which items can last longer than others, and much more. This way, it significantly helps to consume all the food available in the pantry on time and save a bunch of money as well.
Ensuring the sustainable management of food in the UK and Sweden, the app has partnered with a number of local restaurants, bakeries, cafes, grocery stores, etc. to minimize food wastage. The app simply allows the food outlets to list their surplus food and invite the customers to buy it at significantly discounted prices. The app has more than 500K downloads on Google Play Store alone.
9. Hungry Harvest
Hungry Harvest is focusing on completely establishing a more sustainable food ecosystem. The platform rescues the farm’s fresh vegetables and fruits that otherwise would have been wasted. This collection is then packed in small parcels to deliver right to customers’ doorsteps at very affordable prices. This way, the platform plays a big role in reducing food waste by taking edible food to the plates instead of bins.
10. Imperfect Foods
Imperfect Foods works on the subscription model. The platform lets you fill your grocery cart and deliver it weekly to your doorsteps. The app makes a difference with its products, mostly sourced from sustainable suppliers. The food delivered by the platform is slightly imperfect but not good to go in bins. Different from what you will find in stores but still healthy and delicious. So far, the platform has managed to save 139M lbs of food by supporting its customers.
How to Develop a Food Waste Management App
1. Understand the Market and Industry
Before taking the big decision, know about the game you are about to play. Conduct market research about the industry. Gather the necessary information such as how big the problem of food wastage is, what can be the possible solution, what it will take to instill the solution, is the solution practical, or is it worth focusing on this particular problem or not. It will help you get a clear and in-depth idea about what you are heading toward.
2. Competitive Analysis
Second, you should know about other industry players, so you can position yourself. Research about the different food waste management app, how they contribute to the issue, what their stakeholders are, what solutions they instill, is there a new or unique solution to achieve competitive advantages, etc. Moreover, you can research about the features they have equipped in their app.
3. Get-In-Touch with Right Team
It will take you a good app development team to get the app ready. So, make sure you choose not just the right but the best one. Your app’s efficiency will depend enormously on the app development team you are working with. You must remember that the experience and expertise in the domain will determine their performance on the project.
4. Choose the Right Working Model
You studied the different apps that work in their respective way for the sustainable management of food waste. So, research and choose the right one for your app. The complete app development is going to be based on this decision.
5. Examine the Prototype
Your app development team will provide you with the prototype of your app. Examine this prototype thoroughly and suggest the necessary changes. This prototype is the rough idea about how your final app is going to look. Any changes post this stage might cost you extra money and time.
Perform the final testing intently and multiple times. Look for bugs and errors. The more efficient the testing, the better the user’s experience with the app. Ensure the UI is simple, all features are in place, every icon performs the respective task, the user experience is smooth, etc.
7. Launch and Marketing
In the end, launch your app on the respective platform (Android or iOS). Conduct efficient marketing about your app. As long as people don’t know about your app, they are not going to use it. Take assistance from social media marketing and digital marketing to reach your target audience.
What Does a Perfect App Development Team Look Like?
As we discussed earlier, your app’s success and efficiency will depend largely on the app development team. When we call it a team, surely there are going to be multiple roles playing their own part in the process. The number of members in a team might be differing as per the capabilities and companies, but the roles ought to be the same. While connecting with the app development team, make sure they have the following roles in their team:
- Product owner
- Project manager
- Business analyst
- UI/UX Designer
- Android/iOS developer
- Quality Analyst
Cost to Build Food Waste Management Apps
The cost of app development is variable due to several factors. A price tag can never be attached to developing the app as it depends on the specifications and type of app you wish to build. The cost of a food waste management app will depend on:
- Number of features you wish to instill,
- Type of features you want to provide,
- The country you are hiring the team from,
- Platform (Android or iOS) you are developing the app for,
- The time it takes for developers to develop the app,
- Tech stack used in the application,
- Changes you seek at different stages, and much more.
When you plan to contribute to the food waste management industry, you should be sure you need a robust and featureful app. Undoubtedly, it is going to need a considerable investment from your side. To get a rough idea, you can consider the cost anywhere between $40,000 to $200,000. However, this is just an idea, and actual cost can vary based on above-defined factors.
What Can We Do for You?
To be straight, we can provide you with a team of experienced and visionary developers to build your app. The difference is that our team will not work for you but with you. Here, you might wonder about the reasons to pick Emizentech amid a crowd of other app development companies. So, let me make it a little easier for you.
1. Market Knowledge
You can surely find other app development teams, but you will not find the market knowledge that Emizentech possesses. Firm has been operating in the market for a decade and has passed through corners of different industries while developing respective apps. So, we know about the tactics and techniques that will help your app grow financially and socially.
Experience is not purchased but made. Through continuous efforts and market exploration, Emizentech now carries a broad experience in the app development landscape. This experience allows us to give the right suggestions and help in constructive decision-making to our clients. After all, experience earns you the ability to predict results.
3. Everything Under One Roof
Whether you want to develop an app for Android or iOS, whether you want to develop a basic or hybrid app, no matter what technology stack you wish to work on, you get everything under one roof. Just share your idea, ask for the team and skills you want, and we are ready to walk along.
4. Free Counseling
We don’t assist only during the journey, but we assist in initiating the journey as well. You might have a lot of question marks in your head regarding app development. So, with a free counseling session with our project manager, you can discuss all your doubts, seek necessary guidance/suggestions and make the right decision.
5. After Service Support
When we have helped you initiate the journey, it’s our duty to offer the proper execution. So, we provide you ample support post-app-development as well. You are going to receive complete guidance, bug removal services, and app improvement support from our team.
Food waste is a real global problem, with around one-third of food being wasted yearly in the US alone. Surprisingly, the hunger index is also significant. Both contradictory statements prove that there is not a shortage of food but the absence of a system that can bridge the gap between surplus food to that of an empty plate.
Mobile apps have begun to bridge this gap with their innovative food-sharing idea. Some apps bring the extra food from restaurants to the table of a starving family, while other apps ensure that the packed food is consumed before its expiry date. One way or another, the apps have been an effective way to fight food wastage, and people are also showing interest in the same.
The apps are attracting a user base of millions and thus unveil themselves as a good business opportunity as well. The owner of these apps not only contributes to social wellbeing but makes good money through advertising and subscription models. So, if you are also looking to establish a good source of passive income, developing the food waste management app can be a good opportunity. Attract a good income by just developing and managing the app consistently.