According to the U.N. Environment Program’s 2021 Food Waste Index Report, approximately 931 million metric tons of food ends up in the garbage. This is enough to fill 23 million 40-ton trucks “bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times,” Richard Swannell, International Director at the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) says. Of the 931 million tons of food waste, 61 percent—equivalent to 569 million tons—comes from households.
If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. And Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ranks food waste reduction as the number one solution that can help curb climate emissions.
Gunders tells Food Tank that the reduction and prevention of household food waste is a “very solvable, actionable issue” and hopes that people “can really see how small changes in our lives add up.”
Fortunately, dozens and dozens of mobile apps and websites around the world allow users to track their food purchases and repurpose ingredients. These tools can help consumers cut down on waste and protect the environment with an added bonus of saving money. In honor of International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction, Food Tank is highlighting 12 global resources that provide simple, creative, and delicious solutions to reduce household food waste.
1. CozZo, Bulgaria
Based in Sofia, Bulgaria, software developer Ivo Dimitrov first released the CozZo app in 2017 as a holistic kitchen management system. The app aims to tackle food waste by allowing users to create shopping lists, manage refrigerator and pantry inventories, track expiry dates, plan meals, and discover recipes using ingredients found at home. CozZo has expanded its reach beyond Bulgaria and now has users across North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. According to Dimitrov, the app has allowed users to reduce their food waste by 50 percent to 70 percent within the first one to three months.
2. EroeGo, United Arab Emirates
In 2021, Daniel Solomon and John Werner launched the United Arab Emirates’ first app designed to fight food waste and climate change. EroeGo provides an online grocery platform where users can access fresh groceries that are set to expire and offered at discounted prices. The app also offers a delivery service based on a commission structure, which aims to benefit delivery drivers. EroeGo aligns its mission with the U.N. 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, intending to eradicate hunger and provide basic nutritional education and access to fresh food.
3. Kitche, United Kingdom
Founded in 2018 and leading with the motto Kitche it, don’t ditch it, the London-based start-up created an app that helps users save money and reduce food waste from the comfort of their homes. Through the free app, users first scan and upload products from their shopping receipts. Then, Kitche categorizes the items, provides reminders to ensure food is not wasted, and allows users to filter through thousands of recipes based on ingredients they already have at home. The app recently won High Commended for Best Zero Waste Brand in Marie Claire’s Sustainability Awards.
4. Love Food Hate Waste, United Kingdom
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a British registered non-profit, created Love Food Hate Waste in 2010. This initiative aims to help consumers reduce household food waste, save money, and protect the environment by saving energy, water, and reducing harmful gases. On the app and website, users can find simple recipes to make with ingredients they have on hand. It also helps users calculate portions, plan meals, create shopping lists, track kitchen inventory, and regulate fridge temperatures to keep food fresh for longer. In 2020, WRAP reported that Love Food Hate Waste had reached 31 percent of people in the UK, up from roughly 15 percent in 2018.
5. Magic Fridge, France
Since 2015, Magic Fridge, or Frigo Magic, has been committed to fighting household food waste through its archive of anti-waste recipes with a French culinary flair. The free app enables users to browse 4,800 simple, healthy recipes made from leftover ingredients. It also provides a platform for users to upload and share photos of their dishes. Magic Fridge has inspired more than 2 million people around the world to find creative ways to repurpose and reuse food in their homes.
6. MyFoodways, Switzerland
Created by Foodways Consulting, a Swiss company based in Bern, the MyFoodways app offers users healthy, environmentally sustainable, and flexible recipes based on items they have on hand. MyFoodways takes into account users’ dietary preferences and suggests ways they can shift toward more sustainable eating patterns, while allowing them to adapt recipes using products in their kitchens. Since the app’s launch in 2018, users have cooked over 5,000 recipes. According to a study from the University of Applied Sciences Northern Switzerland (FHNW), active users showed a growing interest in sustainable food practices, including wasting less food and eating seasonally.
7. nosh, United Kingdom
Co-founders Somdip Dey and Suman Saha created nosh, an app using in-house artificial intelligence technology to track sell-by dates and monitor users’ shopping habits. The app allows users to scan barcodes to track stocked items and provides recipe suggestions based on the expiry dates of those items. To further reduce food waste, the app’s algorithm informs users of their buying and wasting habits, helping them make more informed decisions at the supermarket. In 2020, nosh won the Best Mobile App Design award.
8. NoWaste, Denmark
As a student, Kasper Hjortsballe founded NoWaste in 2017 with a mission to reduce food waste and save money. The app features tools to organize food and expiration dates, like inventory lists and options to sort food by expiration date, name, or category. NoWaste also has options to synchronize and share lists with family members and friends, allowing users to learn from their community’s food waste reduction efforts. In 2021 alone, NoWaste tracked over 700,000 food items in private homes.
9. Olio, United Kingdom
In 2015, co-founders Saasha Celestial-One and Tessa Clarke discovered that one in three people feel physical pain when they throw away good food. This inspired them to start Olio, a free food-sharing app. After launching, it quickly transformed into a global marketplace saving thousands of food items every week. In cities around the world, users connect with neighbors and local businesses to share surplus food. Users upload a photo and description of the item they want to share, arranging for pick-up via private messaging. Olio reports that it has helped eaters share over 27 million portions of food.
10. Seva Kitchen, India
Nagpur-based philanthropist Khushroo Poacha founded Seva Kitchen, a crowd-sourced food distribution app that connects donors of fresh, safe, home-cooked meals with recipients in real time. The app seeks to address the vast amount of food that goes to waste at parties, festivals, and large gatherings, connecting donors to people and organizations in need of food nearby. Seva Kitchen also launched the initiative Neki Ka Pitara, or Fridge of Kindness, which aims to provide fresh food for people in schools and hospitals across India. With 20 refrigerators located in cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, and New Delhi, donors can take turns providing fruit, milk, eggs, and packaged foods. On average, the Seva Kitchen app facilitates 23 shares a month of surplus food around India.
11. Yo No Desperdicio, Spain
First launched as a website in 2015 and then an app the following year, the human rights and food justice NGO, Enraíza Derechos, created Yo No Desperdicio to avoid household food waste in Spain. Users post an advertisement for the raw or cooked food item they want to share and then arrange for pick-up via private messaging. The online platform also allows users to share recipes and tips to further reduce food waste. Yo No Desperdicio is currently undertaking research on food waste and citizen commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Madrid’s Arganzuela, Centro, and Tetuán districts.
12. YoRipe, Singapore
Fang Xinyan founded YoRipe as Asia’s first social mobile app for household food management and waste prevention. The online platform not only suggests recipes to consumers based on their dietary preferences, cooking skills, and on-hand ingredients, but also allows users to scan receipts, create inventory lists, and track food items to avoid waste. Across Southeast Asia, YoRipe aims to inspire food waste prevention through social connections. The platform provides users the opportunity to join cooking challenges, publish recipes, and share creations with a community of more than 50,000 home cooks.