4 apps to help you cut down on food waste

17th Jan 19 | Lifestyle

It turns out your phone can do a bit more than take pictures of your meal.

Smiling woman reading text messages over dinner in a bistro

It’s easy to feel disassociated from the problem of food waste. Throwing away half-eaten packets of spinach when they go bad or not quite finishing your leftovers might not feel like a lot, but it can really add up.

The UK government estimates 10 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted every year – 70% of which is from households.

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This is a staggering amount, which has a knock-on environmental impact. A lot of this waste will end up in landfills producing methane, contributing to global warming. There’s also a moral element; according to the UN, one in nine people in the world (that’s 815 million) are undernourished, and yet so much food in developed countries is being wasted without a second thought.

The statistics are overwhelming, so it can be hard to know how you as an individual can make a difference. Luckily, help is on the way with just the touch of a button – these are some of the best apps you can use to reduce food waste.


The concept behind OLIO is simple – it uses technology to connect those with too much food with those who need it. If you have leftover food, you can post a picture of it on the app and another user will soon get in contact with you if they want it.

You can upload any type of food to the app so long as it’s edible. You can organise to either pick up the food in public places – some supermarkets like Sainsbury’s has collection points – or privately. The app can be used by individual people, but also businesses with surplus food.

The main benefits of OLIO are twofold: It minimises food wastage, as well as helping people who maybe can’t afford to buy food themselves. The app is used in scores of countries from the UK and Ireland to Jordan and Taiwan.

2. Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is similar to OLIO, but instead connects stores with individuals, and food isn’t entirely free. Shops and businesses tend to work on a surplus, so this is an opportunity for them to sell their leftover food through the app instead of throwing it away.

Too Good To Go says if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of CO2 behind the USA and China, asking the question: “With so much being done to tackle CO2 emissions in these countries, why are we forgetting about food waste?”

If you’re a business it means you don’t waste leftover food – saving you money and helping the environment – and consumers can buy perfectly good meals for a discounted price. The app is used in nine countries at the moment, from the UK to the Netherlands.

3. No Waste

A lot of food waste is easily avoidable with a bit of planning. If this sounds like altogether too much of a headache, that’s where the No Waste app comes in. It helps you can log all the food in your house, split up into your freezer, fridge and pantry. This means you always know what you’ve got in the kitchen, you can plan meals using the food you’ve already got, and you can make shopping lists which will reduce unnecessary purchases.

Food can also be sorted by expiration dates, which helps avoid the sinking feeling of realising something you were totally going to eat has gone out of date before you even clocked it.

The app can be synchronised with your friends and family, and at the end of each month shows you just how much money you’ve saved and by how much you’ve reduced your waste. If you want to tackle this problem but don’t live in a major city which is serviced by apps like Too Good To Go, No Waste is a great place to start.

4. Karma

Similar to Too Good To Go, you can use the Karma app to find unsold food from nearby restaurants, cafes and grocery stores, and everything you buy is half price.

The way you can purchase your meal in-app is essentially like using any other food delivery app, except you have the added bonus of knowing you’re doing your bit for the environment.

Karma is available in London and across Sweden.

© Press Association 2019