• Jenica Barrett

Best Apps for Getting Leftovers from Restaurants and Reducing Wasted Food

One-third of food produced worldwide is wasted before someone can eat it. Recently app manufacturers have stepped in to create systems for redistributing food that normally would have gone to waste. Specific apps designed for restaurants to sell leftover meals and for grocery stores to market discounted products near expiration are becoming the norm. These apps promote food waste reduction while providing customers with cheaper, local meals. Some companies have even created platforms where anyone can post their household leftovers or extra food for someone in the neighborhood to pick up.


The Problem with Food Waste


Wasted food happens for a variety of reasons but most often occurs in our households because we don't eat it before it rots. 40% of what we send to landfills in the U.S. is compostable material and 22% is solely food waste. We are filling up our trash cans with edible food and it's a huge problem. Food waste is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases worldwide!


Food Waste Wastes Money


It is estimated that 1/3 of your food budget is getting thrown in the trash (or compost) each week when food is left to rot in the fridge. Restaurants lose money when they end the day with leftover meals that didn't sell or ingredients that won't last until the next shift. Grocery stores also lose money when they dispose of products nearing their expiration dates or have a surplus of produce that isn't selling.


How Using These Apps Reduces Food Waste


Food waste on an individual and industry level has a financial cost. Many of the apps listed below provide a financial incentive for businesses to participate as they are able to recoup some of the cost of the otherwise wasted food. When you buy their extra bagels, unbought sandwiches, and day-old doughnuts, you're showing them that their food still has value and it's WORTH IT to post it on these platforms. You'll also save yourself some money in the long run, too!


Apps for fighting food waste from restaurants Pinterest Pins

Apps for Fighting Food Waste


1. Too Good to Go

Location: Across 15 Countries Worldwide

iOS & Android


Too Good to Go connects customers with near-by restaurants and markets that have leftover food at the end of the day. Surprise Bags, as they call them, are sold at a dramatically reduced costs with a specific time window to pick them up during. You pay directly through the app itself and pickup your meal at the restaurant. Although you don't know exactly what will be in your meal bag, brief descriptions are usually provided and based on the type of restaurant it is, you can take a good guess.


2. OLIO

Location: Worldwide

iOS & Android


Unlike many other food waste apps, OLIO allows anyone to post their leftovers or food items up for grabs. You can search based on your location to find neighbors with extra items to give away near you. Food Waste Heroes also partner with restaurants and grocery stores to pick up unsold items and then disperse them directly on the app.


All food on OLIO is FREE so there is no cost to pick up something to eat.


3. FlashFood

Location: Canada, USA

iOS & Android


FlashFood partners with grocery stores across Canada and the U.S. to sell items nearing their expiration dates at discounted prices. Simply download the app and search for a grocery store near you that participates. You'll be able to see all of the food items available and pay for them directly through the app with any major credit card. It'll also tell you how close it is to the expiration date. Next head to the FlashFood zone in the grocery store and confirm you order with the customer service desk on the way out.


Don't be fooled by expiration dates! Read why expiration dates don't all mean the same thing.

4. Karma

Location: Sweden, UK, France

iOS & Android


Grocery stores


5. YourLocal

Location: New York City (USA), Copenhagen (Denmark)

iOS & Android


Restaurants, bakeries, and markets can place their extra items up for sale at the end of the day and customers can purchase them at a reduced price. Available in just two cities, YourLocal is a must have if you live in either Copenhagen or New York City, but won't do you any good if you live outside of the zone.


iPhone with takeout food waste apps

6. Food for All

Location: Boston and New York City (USA)

iOS & Android


With Food for All, individuals can use the app to find meals near them that haven't been sold by restaurants and reserve them for pickup (typically one hour before restaurants close) for ~50% off the typical price. You pay straight through the app too so no need to carry cash on hand when picking up. They have partnered with over 200 restaurants across the two cities so far!


7. ResQ

Location: Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany

iOS


ResQ connects people with restaurants and grocery stores offering up food items. Grocery stores likely fill bags with produce that are available instantly once purchased. No need to wait to pick up the items you buy until a specific time with ResQ! Coordinate pickup with your typical errands or when passing by! Food items are typically ~50% off and are purchased directly through the app.


8. No Food Wasted

Location: The Netherlands

iOS & Android


9. Yo No Despericio

Location: España (Spain)

iOS & Android


*Only available in Spanish. Este app funciona como casi igual al OLIO. Cualquier persona puede registarse y ofrecer comida excedente. Tambien puede buscar comida disponible cerca y comunicarse con la person que ofrece la comida para reunirse. Todo es gratis sin costo de registarse y sin costo de recibir alimentos.


Have you used any of these apps to get rid of unwanted food or buy a otherwise "wasted" meal? What has been your experience with them?

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