Boston, MA - According to a recent study sponsored the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 150,000 tons of food—equivalent to one pound per person—is wasted by consumers daily, representing an increase in domestic per capita of over 1 percent annually since 1974. The same study also concluded food waste accounted for 19 percent of landfill waste, directly contributing to the production of greenhouse gases such as methane—an emission 23 percent more toxic than carbon dioxide.
One local startup is hoping to combat this trend.
Food For All is a marketplace app designed to help eliminate food waste by encouraging local restaurants to sell their leftovers at the end of the day for a discount—of up to 80 percent. The app is the brainchild of David Rodriguez, Sabine Valenga and Victor Carreño, three Cambridge-based entrepreneurs who worked in conjunction with the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health to develop the concept in 2016. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and funding from local business incubator MassChallenge, the project had a beta launch in 2017.
“People only see the consequence after it’s already being wasted, but it’s not clear how many resources and how much energy has been put into that food to make it to your plate and then get wasted," said Valenga to Scout Somerville in May 2018. “All the resources, water, labor, energy, transportation, all this cost and time are going to waste.”
“Another big problem with food waste, is that nobody likes to throw away food, but at the same time it’s a problem that is taken for granted. It’s part of everybody’s routine already, and it’s part of everybody’s daily life, and it’s accepted.”
Over 60,000 users have already downloaded the app, which features 130 participating restaurants in the Boston area alone.
“One challenge was showing [restaurants] what their opportunity was,” said Rodriguez. “Overproduction is normal, but they are able to leverage that to gain new clients, help the community and create affordable meals for everyone.”
A 2016 survey from the Food Waste Reduction Alliance suggested that over 84 percent of unused food at restaurants is discarded.
According to Chicken & Rice Guys co-founder Victor So, Food For All has already reduced his restaurant’s waste by approximately 40 percent.
“We don’t cook to order, so we have quite a bit of waste.”
For more information, visit www.foodforall.com