(Toronto) Apps aimed at reducing food waste are gaining popularity across the country.
Posted at 1:22 p.m.
Companies like To Good to Go, La Backup or Flashfood buy unsold products from restaurants and grocery stores to sell them in bulk or make dishes that they sell at low prices.
The savings can be a big boost for consumers, says Flashfood’s chief marketing officer, Eric Tribe.
“A father wrote to us during the holidays to thank us. He had lost his job due to COVID-19 and used the money saved to buy Christmas gifts for his children,” says Tribe.
The app, which is used by grocery chain Loblaw, was created in 2016 by Toronto entrepreneur Josh Domingues. He had just seen his sister, a chef, throw away $4,000 worth of food after a party.
It offers groceries – meat, poultry, fish, milk, pastries, bread – whose expiry date is approaching. Their market value has often been reduced by at least 50%. While some can still last for weeks, if frozen or prepared, others are only edible for a day or two.
Supermarkets often set aside such products for charities, food banks or even farms (which use them to feed their animals).
However, these latter methods do not prevent grocery stores from accounting for a quarter of food waste in the country. That’s why Flashfood targets them exclusively. To date, the company has saved more than 13.5 million kilograms of food from the garbage.
Second Harvest, a charity that redistributes unsold produce to people in need, calculates that nearly 60% of the food produced in Canada ends up in the trash every year, or 35.5 million tonnes. Nearly a third of this food could be salvaged and given to the poor.
“People claim food waste can be eliminated by downloading an app,” says Maria Corradini of the University of Guelph in Ontario. That’s probably wrong, but they can help reduce the burden. »
According to her, better inventory planning and the use of artificial intelligence can help reduce food waste even further.
Good To Go’s director for Canada also believes that inventory management is key. ” [Mais] matching supply and demand is very complex,” he says.
Plus, no restaurant wants to run out of food to serve their last customers of the day.
The company deals primarily with restaurants, bakeries and butchers, but also partners with grocery stores and convenience stores.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much for a product to be turned over to a food rescue company. The Toronto bakery Daan Go Cake Lab gives Good to Go bags containing its famous macaroons. Sometimes they are unsold, other times they are cracked and they are not offered to the distinguished clientele.
Partnering with Good To Go hasn’t been difficult, says the bakery’s chief operating officer, James Canedo.
“Chefs don’t like wasting food. It is almost sacred to them, he says. There are so many people who cannot enjoy the privilege of buying our products. Waste must be avoided. »
Mme Corradini praises the purpose of these apps, but reminds that there are risks.
While some companies only do business with suppliers whose employees are trained to handle food, others let anyone cook meals at home.
“I would never accept a container that has already been opened, because you don’t know what you might find in there,” she says.
She adds that even products from grocery stores and restaurants should be carefully scrutinized. Consumers must be able to prepare, freeze or consume all the products they buy, but they must do so quickly.