From May 1 to October 31, Milan (Italy) is hosting Expo Milano 2015 – the 30th Universal Exhibition in history. The theme of the Expo is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. More than 140 participating countries will come together to present solutions and technologies that can answer this important question: “How do guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium?” The exhibition will also be a chance for visitors to take a journey into the gastronomic traditions of each participating country. During the Expo, the Design Living Blog will offer reflections on the culture of cooking and our relationship with food.
One of the main themes of Milan Expo 2015 is sustainability, which, among other things, puts the spotlight on the alarming data on food waste around the world (and especially in Western countries).
Each year, globally, 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste. To put things in perspective, the same amount of food could feed 868 million people living in hunger.
The U.S. alone wastes up to 40% of its food. Source
This begs the question: is there really something we can do, at the individual level, to stop the bleeding?
Absolutely. In fact, 25% of food waste is generated by us – the consumers. Here is a list of apps that aim to make it easy for you to help bring these numbers down.
222 Million Tons
If you often struggle consuming your groceries before they go bad, this app is for you. It helps you optimize your shopping and meal planning, providing grocery lists based on household size and recipes that use the ingredients you have and need to finish up. A big plus? It helps you add a lot of variety in your meals.
Works on: iPad Price: Free
If you don’t own an iPad, here’s a similar app that works on all Apple and Android devices: Love Food Hate Waste.
Part of an effort called the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodKeeper helps consumers use food while at peak quality. Among the app’s main features are:
- Guidelines to store over 400 food and beverage items for best preservation;
- Interactive calendar to manage stored food so nothing is forgotten;
- Tips to cook meat, fish, and eggs to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Is My Food Safe?
Just like FoodKeeper, this app focuses on smart storage and increasing the shelf life of your stored food as the key to reducing waste. Want to know things like how long it is safe to keep meat in the freezer or what is the best way to store apples? This app will be able to tell you.
A bit different from other apps of its kind, PareUp helps consumers find restaurants and stores that have unsold, unexpired food, so they can buy it at a discount and use it at home. This is a win-win situation for all because you help businesses reduce the amount of perfectly good food that would be thrown away. The only drawback? The app and its service are only available in New York City….for now. Expansion plans include Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
Works on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: Free
Another easy app to manage your groceries so you don’t buy more food than you can consume before it expires and you have a way to keep track of what you have stored in your fridge, freezer and pantry. It includes a barcodes scanner, shopping lists for weekly/monthly must-buy items, and a search feature to find recipes that use the ingredients you need to finish up. Works on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: Free
Want more info about food waste and the negative impact it has? Check out this article and infographic.