Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: Smartphones Telling Us What To Eat

Durch Digitalisierung kann etwas gegen Lebensmittelverschwendung getan werden
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Apples and pears falling from trees, grapes hanging from vines, and here in the office, home-grown zucchini are given away in all sizes, because colleagues with their own garden aren’t able to eat everything on their own.

Nature itself might be wasteful, but the food industry and humankind are even worse. One in eight items bought at the grocery store will be thrown out without ever being eaten. Restaurants, cafes and bakeries have to follow very strict requirements and dispose of much at the end of the day. And a lot of products that were produced and grown, don’t even make it to the market… Carrots are deemed too crooked and a yoghurt container could me missing a lid.

A digital transformation is helping everyone fight food waste. Buying food at reduced prices, cooking interesting recipes from ingredients you might not even think go together, and even artificially and automatically reducing prices for certain soon to expire products in supermarkets.

Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: Apps Help With Choice And A Good Conscience

In many cities, there are food sharing shelves where food that is still good can find new homes. But many people are sceptical of this way of doing something about food waste and prefer to pay reduced prices and save something that is certainly still good. The app Too Good To Go has been working in this area for a few years. Bakeries, cafés, supermarkets and restaurants can register on the app and offer their remains for cheaper than normal. Users can reserve items and pay for them with PayPal. If there’s nothing left that the user wants, the order is cancelled and customers even have the flexibility to cancel their order until a certain period of time.

There’s an economic advantage for both sides. Customers save money while getting the amount they usually buy and if the baker around the corner only works until noon and you get up at 11, that’s even better. Caterers and supermarkets earn a bit more from what they otherwise would have to throw away. And since giving away these items and dumpster diving are frowned upon, and in some countries illegal, this is a great legal solution.

Too Good To Go is now so well-known that in small and medium-sized cities where there are not many stores, it’s hard to get hold of items on the app. But especially in metropolises and on trips, the app is also useful to view the culinary offerings in the area. Cafés benefit too in terms of marketing because people might scope them out during the day and actually spend time at certain places that they wouldn’t have seen unless they were on the app.

Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: Recipes Against Waste

Open the fridge. And close it quick. There’s a pack of cottage cheese left form yesterday. Then there’s some apricot and some eggs. Even four shrivelled up organic carrots and cucumber. Oops, the cucumber’s stem is mouldy. The pantry contains some rice pudding, flour, and sugar. In the freezer is some butter. In my stomach, nothing, I’m hungry! What should I do?

Open the garbage can. And close it quick. There are already some cucumbers in there. You can do something with the remaining ingredients, and the German app Resterezepte can help. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Nutrition launched it while partnering with star chefs. Their mott? Too good for the trash. You can enter two or three ingredients in the app and stimulate your imagination. Using cottage cheese, flour, and apricots you can make Marillenknodel (a sweet dumpling) and season it with butter and sugar. It tastes amazing. We can even use the carrots, rice, and broth to make a restaurant-style risotto. What a great two-course meal. At the end you have to share what you made on Instagram.

Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: AI And Dynamic Prices

Wasteless is an Israeli start-up from Tel Aviv, which has devoted itself analytically to the fight against food waste. The idea is that we can create dynamic pricing in supermarkets. So, for example, Camembert might be reduced the date before its best by date, but it’ll be tagged the day after and several parameters will be included in real-time pricing so that the reductions can start sooner.

Wasteless pricing using machine learning for price prediction. The algorithm incorporates expiration dates, demand, shelf space, the region, brand awareness, inventory, but also weather data, competitors’ prices, and current purchase prices in automated pricing. In addition to these covert aspects, Wasteless’ electronic price tags provide customers with information about the regular and current price. Bye-bye red stickers that pack on packaging, but only add extra work and waste. Cash registers are kept up to date and can recognise the dynamic pricing.

Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: Less Trash, More Sales

In Europe, this way of making prices more sustainable with artificial intelligence has already been tested by the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, by Dia supermarkets in Spain and by Iper in Italy.

The testing’s success speaks for itself. In Spain, Wasteless’s dynamic pricing has reduced the number of fresh counter products that emit waste by a good third. In Italy, there was even a drop in disposables of more than two-thirds of fresh produce. At the same time, the supermarkets were able to boost their sales thanks to AI support.

Digital Solutions For Preventing Food Waste: Sustainability Is Trendy

Sustainability becoming cool and profitable means it has reached a lot more people. In our current Trend Book Handelskraft 2019, we’ve devoted an entire chapter to the topic in connection with exciting digital developments. You can request the trend book here for free.

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