Circular economy

Waste of food, 9 startups that help the planet and us

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

According to FAO, one third of the food produced is not eaten. Wired UK made a list of the best apps that can help solve the problem.

Innovative startups to avoid food wastage and trigger a virtuous mechanism of circular economy in the agri-food sector. This is what Wired UK is talking about, while also drawing up a list of companies that could really revolutionize this sector.

FAO data are clear: one third of all the food produced – 1.3 billion tons – is not eaten, but ends up in landfills, where it also generates methane, a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect. “We are extracting and then wasting natural resources – explains Camelia Bucatariu, policy consultant of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The United Nations expect the global population to grow to 9.15 billion by 2050, with an inevitable increase of pressure on what we grow and breed. “Food waste is becoming a priority – says Bucatariu – The path from farm to fork is broken. That’s where startups come in to fix the food chain.”

1. THE FARM

Vital Fields helps farmers manage crops by tracking weather patterns and activities such as crop spraying. The Estonian startup claims to be able to calculate if a field will be hit by parasites.

2. The GREENHOUSE

Agrilyst provides real-time data to farmers who grow vegetables in greenhouses, so as to increase crop yield . The U.S. startup USA claims to be able to cut energy costs by 20%.

3. CHARITIES

The Irish startup FoodCloud began by providing a NGO with unsold food from a farmers’ market in 2012. Nearly four years on, it brokers meetings between supermarkets, shops and 387 charities.

4. SUPERMARKETS

The German app FoodLoop sends push notifications on behalf of supermarket chains, such as PlusFresc in Catalonia, telling its subscribers what products have been reduced as sell-by dates come up.

5. RESTAURANTS

U.S. restaurants can use the Food Cowboy app to let non-profit associations access their surplus food. Since 2013, more than 1,000 truck drivers have shifted in excess of 230 tonnes of excess edibles.

6. CHEF’S KITCHENS

Winnow cuts kitchen waste by tracking what chefs throw away. Recorded on a touchscreen, the data enables behavioural change. The firm claims to have saved 150 restaurants nearly £2 million.

7. HOME

OLIO, a free app launched in June 2014, lets Londoners list surplus food items they have 
at home. More than 1,000 items were posted online in the app’s first four months and viewed by nearly 10,000 users.

8. IN THE FRIDGE

Love Food Hate Waste is an app from the UK recycling charity WRAP that helps users plan meals with what they have in their fridge.

9. ON THE COUCH

The United Nations World Food Programme’s ShareTheMeal app lets users donate a 50 cents meal to hungry children.

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