The tech sector steps up to reduce food waste

Jun 28, 2021

Erik Wallin

Food waste is a huge issue. Globally, we waste or lose around 1.3 billion tonnes of food each year. Factor in the water wasted in growing that food, and you have enough to feed three billion people and to provide nine billion with 200 litres of water each per day.

In Europe, the UK is by far the biggest waster of food. The country wastes around 14 million tonnes per year. That includes 13% of all edible food and drink that households purchase.

Willingness to change

Behavioural economics researcher Dan Ariely has just shared his latest survey results, after examining the issue of food waste/consumption/technology. He found that 83% of people care a lot about reducing domestic food waste. That figure rose to 91% in the under-30s.

Ariely also found that people of all ages were excited about the idea of using technology to manage their shopping and to enhance their consumption-related behaviour.

Tech solutions to the problem of food waste

"There is a growing range of tech solutions trying to tackle food waste," advises Erik Wallin, CEO and co-founder at Northfork. "Waste occurs at multiple points in the food production process. That means we need different solutions for the different points at which food is wasted."

Wallin cites the Too Good to Go app as an example of this. The app connects major food outlets (Carrefour, Morrisons, Costa and many more) with locals happy to buy a selection of random leftovers towards the end of the day. The customer gets the food at a vastly reduced price; the food outlet reduces its waste. It's a neat solution and so far the app has attracted 40.2 million users.

Reducing food waste through recipe shopping

Northfork is also passionate about using tech to reduce food waste. Its recipe shopping solution includes a range of dynamic actions to minimise waste at the point of purchase. These include:

  • Matching ingredients to relevant products based on portion size

  • Recalculating items in the shopping cart to adjust for any portion size amendments

  • Connecting ingredients to share them across multiple recipes

  • Basing additional recipe suggestions on leftover ingredients in the shopping cart, after the recipes that have already been selected have been accounted for

  • Suggesting additional recipes, to prioritise waste minimisation

Again, it's a neat solution, and clients already include Walmart, Coop Danmark, ICA Gruppen and BuzzFeed.

Reducing food waste is a global responsibility. With the right tech in place, there's plenty we can do to tackle the issue head on.