Wondering if there’s an app that can help you reduce food waste? Prepare to be an ‘appy chappy, because there are plenty! Food waste is a huge contributor to climate change, but surplus food apps like Too Good to Go and Olio are kicking its butt.
The UK wastes 9.52 million tonnes of food per year (WRAP), thanks to people having eyes bigger than their bellies, and shops and restaurants having orders bigger than demand.
But fear not, waste-haters and planet-lovers, because we’ve found the best food waste apps the UK has to offer. So, get ready to use your phone to call time on waste and dial up your eco efforts!
The Best Food Saving Apps
The clock is tik-toking on global warming, with food waste in landfills creating up to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. And it doesn’t just burn a hole in the atmosphere. It also burns a hole in your pocket, with average households tossing out £470 worth of food each year!
Give your wheelie bin and wallet a breather, and save money and the planet by making sustainably smart choices with your smartphone. Here are the prime waze to insta-ntly give food waste the silent tweetment. Because you know what they say: if the app fits, use it! Let’s get into it, then. Here are our picks for the very best food waste apps:
Too Good To Go
One of the biggest causes of food waste is uneaten leftovers and unsold items in restaurant fridges, kitchens, shelves and cupboards. And where does wasted food end up? The landfill – a gas-filled place where things are dumped to rot. Kind of like what we now imagine Myspace to be.
Too Good To Go was created in 2016 with a mission to “inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste,” and is one of the most popular and best food waste apps in both Europe and the states. The idea came to one of the app’s co-founders when they noticed bucketloads of food being binned after a buffet.
Like us, they believe that food is made to be tasted, not wasted, and set out to save unsold meals and produce from some of the UK’s finest eateries. And since that lightbulb buffet moment, Too Good To Go has become the world’s biggest food waste app! Nosh is a fantastic way of ensuring you only buy what you need, and avoid adding yet another can of tomato soup to your dusty stockpiled cupboard collection, making it one of the handiest and best food waste apps currently available.
How does Too Good To Go work?
Now we know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry. Too Good To Go doesn’t sell you scraped leftovers from abandoned plates. Instead, it invites you to rescue the food that’s unsold and untouched by customers when it gets to closing time.
Think of it as like the yellow sticker aisle at a supermarket, only without the bargain-addicted predators circling the poor, shaking till-stacker.
How it works:
Stores and restaurants sign up to the app, where they can advertise and sell bags of food based on the amount they usually have at closing time.
Then, you can:
- Download and browse the app to find your favourite store or restaurant.
- Buy a “surprise bag” from your chosen retailer at a discounted cost.
- Collect the food during a pre-set time window, usually near the end of the day.
So far, the 50+ million waste warriors who’ve downloaded and signed up for the end of day food app have saved over 138 million meals from the dark depths of the dustbin.
What is a ‘Magic Bag’ on Too Good To Go?
‘Magic bags’ are the food packages you buy on Too Good To Go from local food businesses. Each day, eateries offer a number of these on the platform, which users can then purchase and collect.
Because it’s a leftover food app, there’s no guarantee what’s going to be in a magic bag. But the surprise is all part of the fun!
Is the Too Good To Go app free?
Free to download and free of waste. This is our kind of app! To get started, download the Too Good To Go app on your mobile device, and search for the restaurants and shops that offer surplus, discounted food in your area.
Olio is a community-focused app that allows you to “share more, care more and waste less”.
Founded in 2014, Olio has so far saved over 43 million portions of food, by letting users share their surplus meals and items with their neighbours.
How does the OLIO app work?
Households are responsible for 70% of the UK’s wasted food. But when there’s something surplus, in your neighbourhood, OLIO are the waste-busters you want to call (or download).
- 1. Download the app and take a photo of your surplus food.
- 2. Your neighbours can then search the app and request what they want.
- 3. Once you’ve received their request, you can arrange for them to collect your surplus produce.
How do you become a Food Waste Hero?
A Food Waste Hero is an OLIOer who collects unsold food from businesses, brings it home, and then lists it on the OLIO app. This goes beyond the other OLIOers, who simply list the items already in their cupboards and fridges.
Food Waste Heroes save over 5 million kilograms of food per year, with over half of the food on OLIO being picked up within half an hour. Interested in getting involved? Find out more and become a Food Waste Hero!
Is the OLIO app free?
You didn’t think you’d get to the end of this article without a shameless plug, did you? Much like our fave eco-warrior apps, we also reduce food waste, by delivering what you need, when you need it, in plastic free, home-compostable, recyclable, and return and reuse packaging.
Our customers can add to, reduce, pause and cancel orders up to 8pm the night before delivery, ensuring they only ever receive the exact amount of produce they need. No more screaming, “WHO ATE THE LAST SLICE OF BREAD!?” up the stairs, and no more tragically pouring milk down the drain.
“Save the planet by doing the simplest thing on earth. Eating.”
That’s the Karma motto. The people behind Karma discovered that three wasted meals produce the same emissions as a car driving for a full day of a 48km flight. Crazy, right!?
So, fighting over-production and food waste, Karma was created to give you the chance to buy unsold food from some of the world’s most popular bakeries, restaurants, cafes, wholesalers and more.
How does the Karma app work?
Karma works in a similar way to Too Good To Go, by letting you buy takeaway food on their very own app. And users get rewarded with loyalty bonuses the more they use it!
Is the Karma app free?
Done with restaurant food but still want to reduce food waste at home? Nosh is the answer.
Developed during the COVID pandemic, Nosh uses smart AI tech to track what’s in your fridge and cupboards, notifying you of upcoming sell-by sates and giving you recipe suggestions based on leftover produce.
Nosh is a fantastic way of ensuring you only buy what you need, and avoid adding yet another can of tomato soup to your dusty stockpiled cupboard collection, making it one of the handiest and best food waste apps currently available.
How does the Nosh app work?
- 1. Download the app
- 2. Register your groceries using a barcode scanner on each product or receipt.
- 3. Categorise them based on where they’re stored (freezer, pantry, fridge etc).
- 4. Get weekly updates on your shopping list!
Is the Nosh app free?
NoWaste is a similar app to Nosh, saving you time, food and stress when it comes to your weekly shop. The software makes it easy to keep track of what’s in your cupboards, fridge and freezer, by letting you scan items as you pack away your shopping.
How does the NoWaste app work?
NoWaste allows you to scan or search for the produce you’ve bought, creating an inventory list which you can sort by expiration date to help avoid food waste.
Is the NoWaste app free?
How to reduce food waste elsewhere
Forgotten fries at the back of the freezer… Mouldy mushrooms and soggy spinach in the veg draw… Out of date dates… We’ve all bought food we’ve neglected and thrown out. But the good news is, there are many ways you can cut down on food waste in your household, with and without some of the best food waste apps!
- • How composting helps the planet
- • Get involved in International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste
- • Teach kids about food waste
- • Test eggs for freshness
- • Kids’ composting
- • What is Stop Food Waste Day?
- • Composting 101: a go-to guide
And if that’s not enough, don’t forget to give our waste-reducing recipes!
- • Bread and butter pudding
- • Homemade hashbrowns
- • Vegetable pie
- • Boulangere Potatoes
- • Blueberry pancakes
Join our milkround
It doesn’t matter if you need a doorstep milk delivery or a range of other household essentials brought straight to your home, our milkies are always happy to help. Our mission is to prove just how easy it is to shop sustainably and without the need for single-use plastics. Check out our new milk and food products and get started by joining our milkround. Once you’re all signed up, place at least one repeat weekly order with us, choose up to three delivery days per week, kick back and eagerly await your fresh produce!