Recently, more and more cities are beginning to use apps that help deter food waste while providing discounted food to consumers. Apps such as Montreal’s Ubifood have seen startling success by providing a virtual platform for users to buy discounted surplus food. These programs work to reduce food waste by connecting hungry consumers with willing sellers who have surplus food on the verge of going bad. With this approach, consumers, sellers, and the planet benefit.
Set to release a beta soft launch in Toronto this August 2016, Flashfood has similar aspirations to reduce waste, while benefiting both sides involved.
“Flashfood is essentially the discount food rack on your cellphone and it’s a means for grocery stores, restaurants, food vendors, being able to resell their surplus food before they’re going to throw it out,” Flashfood CEO Josh Domingues explained in an interview with City TV.
Domingues hopes to expand Flashfood Canada-wide and eventually, go global.
“People have signed up from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Italy, the States, India, Brazil” he told City TV. “It’s caught on.”
View the Flashfood website here to sign up for notifications relating to the app’s launch.
(Image from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics)
Do you think you know all there is to know about global food security? News website The Guardian has created a quiz to test your knowledge on the international issue and included a few questions on food waste.
So go on, test yourself – you may learn something about the relationship of food waste to the bigger issue of food insecurity.
Take the quiz here:
“Ugly produce at pretty prices”
That is the slogan for Cerplus, an app aiming to prevent food waste. San Francisco foodie Zoe Wong came up with the idea for the app while strolling through farmers markets. Shocked at how much vendors threw away at the end of the day, she decided something needed to be done.
Initially, Wong launched a company called Revive Jams, preserving and reselling unwanted fruits. However, she noticed that food was still being wasted and the cost of preserving and distributing her products was too much for her small business budget.
This was when Cerplus was born.
Cerplus is an online marketplace (for the San Francisco Bay area only -for now!) that connects users with surplus or unwanted fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost. Sellers can post produce, buyers browse through potential deals, and Cerplus picks up and delivers the order to the customer. With this method, vendors can still make money on extra or “ugly” produce, consumers get quality, affordable produce, and food waste is drastically reduced.
You can read more about Zoe’s work on the Cerplus website.
(Image from www.getcerplus.com)
Based in Beit Yanai, Isreal, Home Biogas is an innovative technology that transforms organic waste into fuel for cooking, right in your backyard. The technology creates a clean-burning gas from organic food waste and pet waste, and the liquid by-product can be used as plant fertilizer.
The current cost for one unit is set at $995, however the United Nations Development Program has expressed interest in providing Biogas units to small villages. As it runs without electricity and produces the equivalent of 6 kilo-watt hours of energy every day, the UNDP believes it could be useful for those who live in remote areas. It can also provide electricity and heat instead of gas.
You can read more about Biogas here.
Thousands of pounds of produce cross the Mexican-U.S. border everyday, destined for grocery stores all over the United States and Canada. Once they arrive, truckloads of fruits and vegetables are assessed based on factors like market demand and physical appearance. If they do not fit the bill, they are dumped near the boarder or sent to the landfill.
Yolanda Soto took notice of the waste and its potential to feed needy members of her border community of Nogales, Arizona. She began intercepting and redistributing food destined to be wasted at the border. Soon after, she started a food waste diversion program called “Borderlands Food Bank”. The program now serves over 16 000 people, providing fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as healthy recipes to food collectors.
Yolanda Soto, Founder and CEO of Borderlands Foodbank (photo via nationalgeographic.com)
Now the CEO of Borderlands, Soto oversaw the redirection of 39 million pounds of food in 2015 alone. The company’s lengthy list of recipients includes over 150 non-profit hunger organizations across the United States as well as the Mexican State of Sonora.
Soto’s hard work has not gone unnoticed, with stories of her success emerging in National Geographic.
Read more about Borderlands Foodbank and Yolanda’s story here.
An innovative program in Melbourne, Australia is tackling greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste while cleaning up popular restaurant areas. The 90 businesses in the well-known Degraves street area are switching from compost-only to a food recycling program that dehydrates food waste and turns it into fertilizer. The fertilizer is then used in local parks as well as farm in the surrounding area.
Invented in Korea, this process of dehydrating food waste results in less methane and CO2 emissions than standard composting. The smell that the dehydrating produces is much less imposing than composting food, which will be appreciated by the restaurants who currently compost outside of their buildings.
The city hopes to install similar dehydration machines in apartment buildings, which may encourage residents to recycle more of their food waste scraps.
Read more on Melbourne’s changing composting scene here.
World-renowned chef Massimo Bottura is joining forces with three Canadian chefs to combat food waste and end hunger. Bottura is the owner and chef at Osteria Francescana, a three Michelin star restaurant known for pushing boundaries and fostering innovation in Italian cuisine. Now, he is fostering a solution to hunger and food insecurity in Italy and around the world, by opening soup kitchens that serve gourmet meals made from rescued food. Bottura’s campaign against food waste began when he converted an old theater in Milan into a soup kitchen during the Expo Milan in 2015. Using only food leftover from the Expo, Bottura and a team of Canadian chefs created a gourmet meal and served anyone who came to the theater doors. After completing a project called “Theater of Life”, a multi-media documentary based on his efforts to reduce food waste, Bottura is now planning to open another soup kitchen at the Rio Olympics using excess food from the events.
Read Phi Center’s interview with Massimo here.
Image from www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-chefs-massimo-bottura-food-waste.