Foodshare—a new web-based platform in Germany—offers individuals the opportunity to share and exchange with others food that would otherwise go to waste.
The platform was founded last December by three entrepreneurs: Valentin Thurn, a prize-winning film producer who produced the 2011 documentary, Taste the Waste; Ines Rainer, who was inspired to work on the project because of her research on food storage for a television program; and Stefan Kreutzberger, a journalist and author who specializes in ecological and consumer issues.
The founders—along with a small team in Cologne, Germany—were also compelled by a 2012 study by the University of Stuttgart on food waste in Germany to start the initiative. According to the study, 60 percent of food waste in the country is generated by households, and the average German discards 80 kilograms (or 176 pounds) of food each year. The report was released as part of Germany’s 2012 Too Good for the Bin campaign to reduce household food waste.
Foodshare initially involved a few families in several German cities. Participants post offerings food surpluses and/or food that they will not consume before the expiration date.
Each listing provides the location, a description and the quantity of the food available, the expiration date, and a way for recipients to make arrangements for food pick-ups or exchanges. The site also encourages users who have only a partial list of the ingredients needed for a dish to connect with neighbors who may have the remaining ingredients. Some users have also arranged group cooking sessions through the site.
The site is free to use, but users must abide by one rule: do not list anything that you would not eat yourself.
As of December 2013, Foodshare reports that it has 30,953 active participants, and has helped to save 25,215 kilograms (or almost 55,590 pounds) of food.
According to the site, the founders believe that people should “share food. No money should exchange hands here, because sharing also has an ethical dimension. We want to reinstate the spiritual, non-material value of food, because it is more than just a commodity.”