Last month, I wrote a blog post on how an edible insect market could be a solution to handling food waste. But for those of us who may not want to go to the extreme of consuming insects, there might be a more simple solution, and it’s right there on your phone!
A third of all global food produced is wasted, with specifically 6.7 million tonnes of food wasted per year in the UK. The average UK family throwing out £730 of surplus items a year While some companies are creating edible insects or focusing on plant-based food to curb this issue, some tech companies are creating apps.
The last few years have seen a demand to tackle food waste through technology. It is now estimated that 3.4 million people around the world are using an app designed to encourage people to give away rather than throw away surplus food, and the number of sign ups are growing.
These food apps are ingenious. They rescue food from suppliers (cafes, restaurant, etc.) that were going to be thrown away, and connect them to hungry people for a discount. This link allows consumers to eat cheaply while local businesses enjoy extra customers and avoid throwing away left over food-a win-win for everyone!
Some examples of these apps are Too Good To Go. The nationwide app has customers pay for a ‘magic box’ within an allocated time frame, that collects leftover food from partnering restaurants. Last July, Too Good To Go saved two million meals in the UK , preventing 5 million kg of CO2e emissions, the equivalent to that emitted by 984 flights around the world .
Another one is Karma. The London-based app connects customers to unsold meals from local restaurants and cafés. Unlike Food To Go, it tells you exactly what is available at each place, allowing you to pay for it beforehand and pick it up within a certain window. Founded in Stockholm in 2016, Karma now helps serve one million users in Britain, France and Sweden. In the UK alone, it offers food from 2,000 outlets.
No Waste and Olio are apps that focus less restaurants and more on individuals. No Waste allows you to check what food you have left in the house and sell it to those who need it at very cheap cost. Olio goes even beyond that and allows you to connect with neighbours and local businesses to share surplus food and other unwanted household items such as toiletries, cleaning products, clothes and furniture. it’s available in 31 different countries.
Why are these apps so relevant? One, because they’re good for the environment. You can tackle food waste and provide it to those who really need it. Another is because of the topic that Polestar has been talking about for a while now: ESG.
A big trend right now that I have seen in many sectors is a push in ESG policies. Many investors, especially private equity firms, are looking for companies who integrate ESG policies into their business model. If you want to read more into what ESG is, Oliver Hoade wrote a detailed blog post on it.
ESG can be seen in consulting, technology, and business services industries as well. It’s no surprise that the food industry is also hopping on this trend. Having a core business model revolve around ESG makes the company even more valuable to PE firms. And for consumers, it helps them feel good that they can take on a service that also makes the world a better place.
These food waste apps are a great way for consumers to save money on food and products, while also making the world a better place. Their popularity is well deserved. And with ESG in the big picture, we’re going to see private equity firms also buy into the popularity.
What are you doing to push for an ESG initiative?
The issues ESG compliance seeks to resolve – climate change, social inequality, poor design – aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither is the interest in those business that challenge themselves to meet these rising challenges.