In this vast, complex world, trying to solve our planet’s pressing environmental crises can leave a person feeling quite powerless. Your day is so packed with all the things to take care of in your own personal ecosystem that just thinking about extending that concern to the entire planet can be exhausting. Activism can feel like a daunting bite, but thanks to a new “food rescue” app, you can do your part to reduce food waste, landfill space and methane gas production. And all you have to do is grab takeout at some of your favorite local restaurants.
Food waste is one of the biggest environmental problems in the world. About 1.3 billion tons (or a third) of the food produced is wasted every year. This food occupies about 30% of the world’s agricultural land. In the US, food waste is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. whoops
All this food waste is neither good for the planet nor good for our wallets. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the direct economic cost of food loss and food waste in non-seafood agricultural products is approximately US$750 billion. The annual value of food wasted around the world is approximately $1 trillion.
What companies are doing about food waste
This loss has not gone unnoticed by most major companies. Starbucks (SBUX) has been making plans for a greener business model for years, including initiatives to incorporate more dairy-free options and encouraging customers to reuse their cups.
Fast-food companies are now also paying attention to this. MC Donalds (MCD) for example, has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and has partnered with Beyond Meat (BYND) offer greener burgers. Burger King, Pizza Hut and KFC, all owned by Yum! Brands (Delicious) introduce their own energy-saving meat alternatives or integrate AI operations management.
Despite all of these big business launches, at the end of the day, not many businesses have found a working solution to excessive food waste. Thanks to food rescue app Too Good to Go, grocers may have a better way to reduce what they throw away each night.
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What’s too good to take away?
This handy little app was born in 2016 when several European entrepreneurs started looking for a functional and easy way to reduce food waste. The idea was simple: connect hungry users with food providers who had perfectly good but surplus food products. Selling these groceries at a reduced price gave customers even more incentive to use the service, and the additional income allowed sellers to recoup some of the sunk costs caused by food waste.
“Food waste is a huge, complicated problem that stretches across the world, and we know there’s only so much we can do if we work alone. But we also know that when one positive idea sparks another, that positivity imprints itself on tens, hundreds, millions of minds, then you can create movement. This has helped us achieve our ultimate mission: to inspire and empower Everyone Fighting food waste together,” says Mette Lykke, CEO of Too Good to Go, on the company’s website.
The app is incredibly straightforward – just use location search tools to find local foods that need saving! In September 2020, Too Good to Go expanded to the United States. Have you already checked if TGTG is already in your area?
Okay, but is it really sustainable?
In the age of greenwashing, it’s always important to do your due diligence when supporting an environmental organization or initiative. So if you’re wondering, “Does this actually work?”, the good news is that it does.
Too Good to Go releases its impact report to show how good its restaurant goodie bags are. After the app’s release, more than 145,000 Americans saved over 44,000 meals from the trash in the first 4 months.
In 2021, that number has quickly grown to more than a million Americans and over 575,000 meals saved in less than a year. The company has also committed to continue its stance as a carbon neutral company since 2020. Opening the service to Sweden and the US in 2020 helped the company save more than 28 million meals — a 49% increase from the previous year.
Good To Go is also far from the only food waste app on the market. Olio is an app that lets you connect with neighbors to give away groceries and household items, while Food Rescue Us helps donate food from restaurants and grocery stores to social services. Flashfood and FoodForAll also allow people to buy groceries that would normally be thrown away at the end of the day at a deep discount.
By helping businesses and consumers to be more conscious of food waste, food waste apps are also quietly putting money back in the pockets of everyone involved. That effort promises to grow with each passing day — and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on as we look to the future.