When it comes to our environment, food waste is a big issue. Limiting our food waste seems easy enough in principle, but many struggle to maintain a zero waste kitchen. Fortunately, several technological advancements have made way for solutions that can make a big difference.
If you want to know more about innovation to reduce food waste, this article will help you explore some helpful solutions by covering the following:
- Why is food waste a problem?
- How can technology reduce food waste?
- 11 innovative food waste solutions to inspire change
We’ll cover some innovative food waste solutions and how some green tech companies are leading the charge in battling the global food waste crisis, but let’s start by discussing why this is a huge problem to begin with.
For more tips on how to reduce food waste, don’t forget to check out our guide on food waste reduction.
Why is food waste a problem?
Food waste is a problem because of the great impact it has on our planet. The huge amount of food that ends up in a landfill releases greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. Every year, about 1.4 billion tons of food is wasted around the world. This means we're generating large amounts of greenhouse gas with our food alone.
Several companies are coming up with new and innovative solutions to this global problem. By incorporating these solutions and making simple changes to our daily habits, we can minimize food loss and decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere as a result.
How can technology reduce food waste?
Many modern advancements in technology allow for solutions that can prevent, track, and eliminate food waste. Whether it's a method of preservation, a way to share, or an ability to decompose waste, there are many options that increase awareness and help our planet.
11 innovative food waste solutions to inspire change
Now that you know how we can use technology to reduce food waste, we can explore some existing products that can help decrease the amount of food wasted. Here are a few creative solutions to reduce food waste.
1. Lomi: Making garbage optional
Lomi (@getlomi) is a kitchen appliance that gives back to the planet in a positive way. This electric composter is able to decompose food scraps and organic waste and turn it into nutrient-rich dirt, which can be used for composting or planet-friendly disposal. This is especially helpful for those wanting to compost in an apartment. Lomi also has a Grow mode feature, which produces dirt that can be used in your garden.
What’s great about it: It’s a unique appliance that breaks down food waste into nutrient-rich dirt, lessening GHG emissions and accelerating the composting process.
How they are making a difference: Pela is dedicated to creating a waste-free future. The company started over 8 years ago with the world's first compostable phone case. Since then, they've made a huge impact with all the sustainable products they have produced. They have over a million happy customers and have saved more than 48,000,000 bags worth of plastic from ever being produced.
2. Apeel: Organically protecting organics
Image Credit: Apeel.com
Apeel (@apeel_sciences) is a completely natural coating that can be applied to fruits and vegetables to improve their freshness. The coating is made of materials found in peels, seeds, and pulps and acts as an invisible and edible layer of protection that keeps moisture in and oxygen out. Produce with this coating are able to maintain their freshness, nutrition, and taste for twice as long as food grown without it.
What’s great about it: It’s a plant-derived coating that keeps produce fresh for longer and is safe to consume.
How they are making a difference: Apeel is dedicated to working with nature to minimize the amount of food waste produced and create abundance for all. Fruits and vegetables with an Apeel coating lasts 2 times longer than untreated produce, allowing consumers more time to purchase and enjoy their favorite perishable foods and keep them out of landfills.
3. Full Harvest: Food from the farm to your business
Full Harvest (@fullharvesttech) is an online marketplace for businesses looking to source surplus and imperfect produce. Farmers can list any produce they have that would otherwise go to waste, and business owners are able to see their options and make a purchase. The company has also introduced the Full Harvest Verified Rescued Produce seal, which informs customers that the products they're purchasing were rescued by the business and are helping minimize food loss as a result.
What’s great about it: It’s a B2B online marketplace for surplus and imperfect food that offers convenient delivery options.
How they are making a difference: Full Harvest’s mission is “to empower sustainability at the root level” with their marketplace. Their goal is to create a world where there is 0% food waste and 100% full harvest, meaning no fresh produce will ever go to waste with the right resources.
4. Hungry Harvest: Where food can be rescued
Hungry Harvest (@hungryharvest) is a subscription-based company that delivers surplus and imperfect produce directly to consumers. Those interested can request boxes full of produce they've never tried, along with their grocery staples, and enjoy new and nutritious meals while preventing food waste. The online marketplace is easy to use and boxes are delivered right to your door.
What’s great about it: It’s a subscription box marketplace that allows you to customize your options and have your box delivered right to your doorstep.
How they are making a difference: Hungry Harvest aims to bring “plant power to the people” by giving customers easy access to produce that would otherwise be wasted. The company has rescued over 27 million pounds of produce since 2014, of which over 1.7 million pounds has been donated to local charities.
5. Imperfect Foods: Giving rescued products new life
Imperfect Foods (@imperfectfoods) is also a grocery subscription box company that sources imperfect and surplus products to deliver to you weekly. The company partners with farmers and brands to take their surplus off their hands and offer affordable groceries under their own brand name, as well as products from 40+ partners. Boxes are delivered right to your door, and they'll even take last week's empty box from you to properly recycle it.
What’s great about it: It’s a weekly subscription box full of sustainable products made with rescued ingredients.
How they are making a difference: Imperfect Foods wants to offer groceries that help fight food waste by offering a service that is sustainable, affordable, and convenient. Customers who purchase a subscription for a year could help recover 200-384 lbs of food, conserve over 9000 gallons of water, save 38 hours of their time, and conserve 192-288 lbs of CO2e.
6. Wasteless: Getting food off the shelves
Wasteless (@wastelessltd) is a platform that allows supermarkets and online grocers to prevent food waste by monitoring buying trends. The Wasteless Pricing Engine monitors shelf life and buying habits to determine how best to price items, helping businesses get their products off the shelf for a maximum profit. Markets are able to better stock their shelves to improve their revenue while also helping minimize food waste.
What’s great about it: It’s an AI-powered pricing solution for grocery stores that tracks consumer buying habits to help sell items for a maximum profit.
How they are making a difference: Wasteless is dedicated to being a one-stop solution for helping supermarkets manage their supply chain, minimize food loss, and improve their revenue. They’ve helped grocers achieve an at least 20% increase in revenue and a 3 percent increase in net margin per product, all while reducing food waste and improving the customer experience.
7. Neurolabs ReShelf: Helping retailers manage their stock
Neurolabs ReShelf (@Neurolabs1) is an automated retail tool that monitors products on store shelves. It uses the technology to monitor buying trends as well as track shelf life, allowing store managers to make smarter decisions when stocking products. This allows stores to keep popular items from being out-of-stock while also preventing overstocked items from being wasted.
What’s great about it: It’s an automated shelf monitor that can predict sales patterns, helping markets and retailers keep the right products in stock.
How they are making a difference: Neurolabs believes that Synthetic Computer Vision will transform the retail industry. By optimizing machine learning to automate root cause analysis, stores are able to keep popular items in stock while wasting others.
8. Tenzo: Saving restaurants money
Tenzo (@tenzoinc) is restaurant analytics software that can allow restaurant owners and managers to make smarter decisions. The software is full of analytics that helps them efficiently monitor the financial gains and losses and what is affecting them. This includes being able to monitor ingredient costs, which ones are being used the most, and which ones might be going to waste.
What’s great about it: It’s an automated AI-forecasting platform that uses sales patterns to help restaurateurs make smarter money-saving decisions.
How they are making a difference: Tenzo wants to revolutionize how restaurants and retailers are able to use their data, so they can improve operational efficiency while reducing food waste. They aspire for their products to equip businesses with insights and forecasts that will help them become less wasteful and reduce their impact on the planet.
9. Winnow: Tracking food waste in the kitchen
Winnow (@winnowsolutions) is an AI-powered system that's designed to minimize food wastage in restaurant kitchens. Winnow uses smart technology to track the food being thrown away and generates analytics that is allowing restaurants to see what is being wasted the most and how much money is being lost. This allows them to make smarter decisions when it comes to purchasing ingredients and their freshness.
What’s great about it: It’s an AI-powered system that uses a motion sensor camera and scale to track food waste and display data on a kitchen’s wasted food.
How they are making a difference: Winnow’s mission is to encourage commercial kitchens to limit their food waste. Since launching their product, Winnow has helped kitchens save over $42 million, 36,512500 meals, and 61,000 tonnes of CO2.
10. Too Good to Go: Selling surplus products
Too Good to Go (@toogoodtogo.usa) is an app that allows users to purchase surplus food from local businesses at bargain prices. Stores can list their surplus food on the app as a Surprise Bag, which can then be purchased by customers who come to pick up the bag at the store. Businesses are able to sell their surplus food, gain new customers, and help minimize food waste all at once.
What’s great about it: It’s an app that allows customers to save money and local retailers earn profits and increase their discoverability. And did we mention it’s an easy solution to the global food waste crisis? It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved!
How they are making a difference: Too Good to Go is dedicated to helping the planet by saving food. Since their launch, they’ve already acquired 53.1 million users, recruited 141,544 businesses, and saved 121 million meals.
11. Copia: Donating surplus food to charity
Copia (@gocopia) is a platform that allows restaurants and other hospitality businesses to donate food that they have in excess to nonprofits in the area. All they have to do is request a pickup for their food and a delivery driver will deliver it to a nearby non-profit. The platform also generates helpful data on food waste and assists with tax deductions, greatly benefiting businesses that give back to the community.
What’s great about it: It’s a platform that connects businesses with nonprofits in need of food, while also offering convenient delivery options, reports for tracking surplus trends, and assists with tax savings.
How they are making a difference: Copia’s mission is to eliminate world hunger. As a result of their platform, they’ve helped recover over 4 million pounds of food, deliver over 3.5 million meals, and divert over 18 million pounds of CO2e.
We hope you enjoyed learning about some innovative ideas for food waste management. Now you know what food waste reduction technologies that are available to you. If you’re ready to start reducing your waste, you can start making simple changes in your kitchen by composting your food scraps. Check out what people are saying about Lomi.
Written by: Karyn Little