We all condemn supermarkets that chuck out vast quantities of food, but UK households are just as guilty of waste.

UK homes throw away 7 million tons of food and drink every year, an amount the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign estimates costs an unappetising £12.5 billion (R234.16 billion).

It’s an issue that’s not only bad for the planet, but also for shoppers, with the average family wasting £700 a year by throwing away food that could have been eaten. That’s nearly £60 a month.

There have been numerous campaigns to tackle such waste, with supermarkets cutting back on two-for-one offers that encourage unnecessary purchases. But perhaps the answer lies not in big campaigns, but in technology.

Creators of a relatively new app, Olio, say the answer is more tech-enabled sharing. The premise is simple. The user downloads the app, sets his or her location, and can then see items of food being advertised nearby by neighbours and businesses.

The app suggests suitable offerings could range from unused packets nearing their use-by date to even half-vegetables, if only part has been used.

Items can then be collected from neighbours or via drop-boxes managed by businesses in each area. A person with food that is still eatable but risks going to waste snaps a photo using his or her phone and uploads it. The app then advertises the food to other nearby users. The success of the app depends on having groups of people using the app in any one area, so it’s signing up volunteer ambassadors to promote the app in their areas.

Olio is just the latest in a series of apps and technological developments designed to help shoppers save money and cut waste. The free Love Food, Hate Waste app helps customers plan meals, shop efficiently and use up leftovers, providing recipe ideas and tips for using extra ingredients.

The NHS Smart Recipes app provides a database of meal ideas that can feed four adults and cost just £5 to make.

– The Independent

Categories: Education Money