Around 40% of all food produced in the US is wasted every year. In NYC alone we throw away 6.5 million pounds of food EACH DAY, that’s the equivalent of 24 subway cars filled to the brim. When so much of the global population is starving, this statistic is extremely alarming.
So what can we do to curb all this waste?
Having a greater awareness of our consumption, buying only what we need and finding ways to used up leftovers are all good ways to start. But to make this process more interesting, an exciting new app is about to be launched that will not only help us cut down on food waste, but will save us save money too.
The app is called PareUp. It aims to pair businesses who have surplus foodstuffs with consumers who want great discounts on food.
For example, if a bakery has loads of bread left towards the end of the day, the app will notify users of this and let them know that the bakery will be offering big discounts on stock for the last few hours of business. This kind of thing would work out particularly well if you’re on your way home from work and want to pick up a tasty loaf to go with dinner.
You can use the app to find out what deals are on offer closest to you.
Margaret Tung, local resident and mastermind behind the app, told me “We’ve been looking to find a way that incentivizes consumers and businesses to change the way they approach food. For businesses it’s an opportunity to recoup some of the costs that they put into unsold food whilst consumers get to buy perfectly good products at a huge discount.”
She added “Restaurants pay for trash pick-up so if they have waste food this adds to the cost. With PareUp they save in this way too.”
Margaret told me how the idea for the app was inspired by a friend who once got given a glut of misshapen yams from the market and threw a massive yam party for his friends. “He cooked up the yams in loads of different ways and we all feasted like kings on food that would have otherwise been thrown out.”
The app will launch sometime this summer but in the meantime you can sign up to a regular mail-out via their website to hear what kinds of offers are available in your area.
The mail-out only officially launched a week ago and the PareUp team are still building relationships with businesses, but already there’s been awesome local deals with the likes of Settepani and Oslo Coffee in Williamsburg, Bronx Baking Co. at Smorgasburg and Breads Bakery in Union Square.
Margaret says she wants PareUp to become an educational lifestyle resource, so the mail-out and their FB page out also offer tips on inventive ways to use up left-over food along with recipes to tie in with daily offers.
Once the team has tested the water in NYC there are plans to launch the app in other US cities, particularly ones that might not have much of an existing structure for food waste.
With all the pointless apps out there, PareUp might just be the one that can help us make the world that little bit better.