The latest in a crop of apps designed to address the issue of food waste connects restaurants that have excess & leftover food with people looking to save money on prepared foods.
It's estimated that some 40% of all of the food produced these days ends up as waste, which is a staggering figure on its own, considering the current state of world hunger. And when the related issues of the water, energy, labor, and soil nutrients used to grow and transport that wasted food are added in, food waste ends up accounting for a much higher level of impact than simply a reduced food supply, and this environmental toll affects everyone through its effects on our ecosystem.
This is a complex problem, with waste produced at every point along the food supply chain, so it's not merely a consumer issue, so while some efforts are aimed at increasing the marketability of so-called ugly produce, others are looking to improve the efficiency of the food transport and storage sectors, and still others are working to connect institutional and commercial food wastes with food pantries and soup kitchens. One area of food waste that's attracted some interest over the last few years is the idea of addressing the 'last mile' of prepared foods by helping restaurants get their daily leftovers or day-old foods in front of consumers, who can then essentially "eat out" at a steep discount.
The latest of that crop of food waste business models comes from Food for All, which is currently operating as a pilot project with 30-some restaurants in Cambridge, MA, and which is looking to scale up its venture to both Boston and New York City next year. The platform is taking aim at the estimated 43 billion pounds of food that is thrown out each year by restaurants, fast food joints, cafeterias, and caterers, and in addition to reducing food waste, the Food for All app is designed to give consumers a sweetheart of a deal (50-80% off of retail prices) on prepared foods.
The app allows users to search for food deals close to their desired location, place their order for the leftovers (foods that did not/will not sell by the end of the day), and then go pick up the food at the designated time (before close of business, obviously, but time frames are determined by the businesses themselves).
Up to this point, the platform has been funded by its creators, and to get its app fully finished and launched in Boston and NYC by summer of next year, Food for All has taken to Kickstarter to raise at least $50,000 in crowdfunding, and backers can get future Food for All meals (for themselves, or to donate) in exchange for their pledges.
What do you think? If/when this app comes to your city, would you use it to score some (slightly aged) discounted restaurant food?