- 931 million tons of food is wasted every year, which contributes between 8% and 10% of global CO2 emissions, the UN Environment Program estimates.
- These smartphone apps help shoppers, supermarkets, restaurants and food manufacturers to reduce their food waste.
- Governments are increasingly implementing policies to reduce food waste, costing the world $1 trillion a year.
Food waste is a growing problem worldwide. About a third of the world’s food is wasted or lost, according to the WWF, with huge consequences for people, the planet and the economy.
More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, according to the World Food Program.
And the 931 million tons of food wasted each year accounts for between 8% and 10% of global carbon emissions, the UN Environment Program estimates.
So what can be done to address this problem? Technology is a solution. All over the world, smartphone apps are encouraging people to change their approach to food waste. Here are three.
1. Half price food with one click
In Egypt, an app called Tekeya let bakeries, restaurants, supermarkets and dessert shops sell their fresh unsold food at half price. It means cheap food for shoppers, who use Tekeya’s free app to browse and buy discounted food items near them.
It also means more profit for the stores and restaurants by increasing their sales and lowering waste disposal costs. Tekeya users can also use the app to donate free meals to charities.
Tekeya says it will have saved about 40,000 meals by 2021, which is equivalent to 85 tons of CO2.
2. Scooped up excess food
In the UK there is a similar app called too good to go allows shoppers to buy and collect excess food at discounted prices from local restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets and food producers.
Food is sold in mixed bags. “You don’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up — it’s all part of the surprise,” the company says.
More than 20,000 food stalls use the app to reduce food waste and nearly nine million shoppers use the app to buy discounted food, with 12 million bags of food going undisturbed so far, Too Good To Go says.
Run by Mette Lykke, a World Economic Forum Young World Leaderthe company is also trying to educate people about the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ labels on food, to avoid unnecessary waste.
3. Sharing food nearby
olio is a free app that allows you to share food with your neighbors, instead of wasting it. This can be, for example, food that needs to be eaten for a holiday or leftover catering supplies. Edible food that is within its best before date can be shared.
App users post a photo and details of food they don’t need, as well as browse other offerings. Olio says nearly 6 million people in more than 60 countries have used the app to share more than 52 million servings of food.
What else can we do about food waste?
Not buying too much food is one way we can all do that reduce food waste, suggests BBC Good Food. Only buy what you can eat before the use-by date, it suggests.
The BBC also advises that: leftover food can be used to create new dishes. For example, use stale bread to make a breadcrumb topping.
Of food waste costs $1 trillion a year worldwidegovernments are starting to take action, according to Winnow Solutions, a tech company that helps commercial kitchens reduce food waste.
For example, in 2018, Australia pledged to halve its food waste by 2030. Funding for food rescue charities was an important part of his policy.
New laws have been introduced in France to combat food waste. These include mandatory recycling for any company that produces more than 10 tons of organic waste per year.
And in South Korea, food waste in the capital Seoul fell by 10% — 300 tons of food a day — in four years after a new policy was introduced to make homes pay for recycling based on how much food they throw away.
Two billion people in the world currently suffer from malnutrition and by some estimates we will need 60% more food to feed the world’s population by 2050. Yet the agricultural sector is ill-equipped to meet this demand: 700 million of its workers currently live in poverty, and it is already responsible for 70% of the world’s water consumption and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
New technologies can help our food systems become more sustainable and efficient, but unfortunately the agricultural sector has fallen behind other sectors when it comes to technology adoption.
Launched in 2018, the Forums Innovation with a target platform is a large-scale collaboration that facilitates the adoption of new technologies and other innovations to transform the way we produce, distribute and consume our food.
With research, increasing investment in new agricultural technologies and integrating local and regional initiatives aimed at improving food security, the platform works with more than 50 partner institutions and 1,000 leaders around the world to leverage emerging technologies to make our food systems more sustainable. inclusive and efficient.