How sustainability and technology walk side by side to fight food waste

Food waste is a significant problem worldwide: about one-third of the world’s food goes to waste. Approximately 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, and 17 percent of global food production is wasted annually. Food waste results in more than monetary loss; it wastes crucial resources such as water, soil, and energy.

Close-up photo of man holding paper Too Good To Go bag

How to change this?

The United Nations has set a goal of reducing global food waste by 50% by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, and European Union’s agriculture ministers have adopted this objective. They have outlined their approach to addressing the issue. It is our ultimate responsibility as consumers and businesses to help reduce food waste; however, there are ways in which companies can help consumers achieve this – and technology could be an ally.

Take, for example, the company Too Good To Go, a business with a clear mission ahead: reduce food waste by redirecting surplus food to consumers instead of going to waste. Founded in 2015, the company created an app (a marketplace) to connect consumers with local food establishments.

It allows users to purchase unsold food from restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores at a discounted price. Users can browse available food options (based on geolocation) and buy a “Surprise Bag” containing various surplus items. The app also allows establishments to upload excess food items in real time, enabling users to buy the food before it goes to waste.

Close-up photo of hand holding a smartphone with the Join Program Food Feed app

As Join Program, we aim for zero food waste in the office catering business. We offer to our clients – just like Too Good To Go – the possibility to use the Join Program app: an online application where users have an overview of all dishes offered throughout the week, allowing them to order their favorite dish ahead of time. The good thing is that this method provides data about who’s joining lunch, so we can produce only what’s needed daily.

However, it requires a change in the employees’ behavior to make this successful, breaking the habit of joining a buffet and seeing what ends on your plate that day to a more conscious mindset, selecting a meal in advance. At Join Program, we have a more holistic approach: new employees go through the onboarding process to learn about the company, which enables understanding of our work. We also take advantage of the digital journey within our Join Program app with the storytelling of food facts, nutrition, traditions, and social and environmental impact.

Overall, technology and data can significantly reduce food waste at the consumer and production levels. Companies like Too Good To Go and Join Program are significantly advancing in tackling this critical issue using data analysis and real-time information.

Overall, technology and data can significantly reduce food waste at the consumer and production levels. Companies like Too Good To Go and Join Program are significantly advancing in tackling this critical issue using data analysis and real-time information.

Ready for a change?

As more companies adopt similar approaches, we can see a considerable reduction in food waste generated globally. How does your organization use technology to meet sustainable goals? We’d love to hear all about it!

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