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These food waste apps will help you save money – and the planet

Try these apps to help reduce food waste and save the environment

A basket of freshly harvested vegetables
catalina.m / Shutterstock

According to, 40% of the food supply in the U.S. is wasted. That means nearly half of all food in the U.S. ends up in a landfill instead of being eaten. It’s even more devastating to consider when there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who struggle to bring enough food home to feed their families. While these numbers may feel overwhelming, there are now apps aimed at reducing the amount of waste and redistributing it to those in need. Whether you’re hoping to reduce your own food waste by passing your excess on to your neighbors or looking to pick up a grocery store’s surplus, these food waste apps will be a big help to you and the environment. 

Food waste apps
David Grandmougin / Unsplash

The best food waste apps

There are several food waste apps out there now, and not all do the same thing. Some are on the consumer end and offer reduced prices on overstocked food items. This means buying items that will soon be out of date or food that restaurants would throw out. Others focus on getting food to those in need, whether that’s through monetary or food donations. These apps are a fantastic way for almost anyone to make a difference.

Some say technology has ruined us, but it’s hard to deny that technology has also brought the world closer when it comes to apps and ideas like these. The apps we’ve listed are taking the food waste tragedy and turning it into something useful. No matter if you download one or all, any small contribution will help. 


When food gets too close to its “best before date,” many stores will throw it out. With FlashFood, you can get massive savings on meat and produce by purchasing those items when they’re close to their sell-by date. These items can sometimes be up to 50% off! This means you’ll save money and keep perfectly usable food out of landfills. 


Connect with local restaurants and stores to purchase their surplus foods for up to 70% off. YourLocal allows you to choose items, pay on the app, and then pick up the food during a specific time. While this app is currently only available in New York City and Denmark, it’s sure to spread throughout the United States soon. 

Too Good To Go

Like those books wrapped in brown paper for a surprise read or blind dates, Too Good To Go is an app with an extensive listing of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and grocery stores that sell unsold food in what is called “magic bags.” Buyers not only get discounted food but also the fun of finding out what’s in their bag. 

Food Rescue US

This app connects businesses with surpluses of regular food to organizations that distribute food to those in need. Together, these groups take food that otherwise would have been wasted and deliver it to homes and families experiencing food insecurity. Recently, they delivered 30,000 pounds of leftover food from the Super Bowl to local shelters. 


Described as being the Tinder for food waste, Olio connects neighbors to pass around food that might have instead gone into the trash. Whether you bought too much or changed your mind, you can simply snap a photo and see if any of those around you would like the items instead. This brings borrowing a cup of sugar to a whole new level!

A farmers market stall selling vegetables
Shelley Pauls / Unsplash

Choosing the right food waste app for you

There are many wonderful apps you can use to reduce food waste, but that can make it difficult to choose the best ones for your lifestyle. Of course, you can always download all of them for a trial run and see which ones you like best, but if you have limited space on your phone, then this isn’t the best option. Instead, here are the factors you can consider to help narrow down your choices.

Think about your own food habits and whether you’re likely to be buying or selling food. If you want to help restaurants reduce food waste (and lower your grocery bill), then an app like YourLocal or TooGoodtoGo that is designed to connect retailers and consumers would be a good fit. On the other hand, if you find yourself throwing away too much of your own food, or have a garden that sometimes gives you a bigger-than-expected harvest, then an app like Olio that connects individuals to each other would help keep your excess goods from going to waste.

The other factor to consider is which apps are available in your area. Some apps are only available in specific regions or countries, and smaller towns may have fewer options as businesses may not be using apps to sell their food waste. Spreading the word about these apps can increase the odds that others in your area will start using them, helping you and your community reduce food waste. Additionally, if you travel often, you should consider using a more global app like TooGoodtoGo or Olio, which are available in multiple countries, to reduce food waste while you’re away from home.

The next time you throw away leftovers or enter a restaurant and gasp at the prices, try downloading one of these apps. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be saving the planet. Food waste is more than just wasteful; it’s harmful to the environment. The average family of four wastes $1,600 worth of food a year. Let’s redistribute that food to those who need it!

And if you’re looking for other apps to help you out in the garden to grow your own fruits and vegetables, here’s a good place to start.

Editors' Recommendations

Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
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