A Look At Food Waste Through A New Lens

The Lempert Report
August 24, 2016

A UK start up called Gander has developed a new app that enables businesses in the food retail and hospitality & catering industries to share discounts on food items approaching expiration, and potential loss.

Gander is a smart idea. Here in the US approximately 40% of all food is wasted and this concept – to redistribute food before it is wasted could work here. Think of the food banks, charities, restaurants and even food manufacturers who could quickly use these foods before they spoil. 

The Gander app simply advertises discounts on foods it has been tested for about a year, with what appears to be mixed success. One would-be example that the company offers is, “if a restaurant has excess lettuce it could price its Caesar salad at the equivalent of a super market lunch and attract nearby office workers that may have otherwise never tried the place.” I’m not sure that would happen, and the founder reports that small independent businesses are reluctant or don’t have the time to experiment or test the new technology. 

So let’s make this a bigger idea. 

Why not follow the model of salvage and junkyards, which broadcast a continuous stream of auto parts available throughout its network. Update it to 2016 with technology and go online through and app offering the product, its expiration date, quantity and price – or open it up for bid. The shared economy, whether it is for transportation or hotel rooms is a reality. We all have a responsibility to significantly decrease the amount of food waste – especially as we face more climate change that could impact the availability and price of our foods. This is one idea that could produce change, and an otherwise lost revenue opportunity.