Is it France? Denmark? Japan? Brazil?
No, its actually England! When researchers at Trinity College Dublin recently launched a database identifying more than 4,000 food-sharing and waste-reducing enterprises in 100 cities around the world, they found that London — with 198 such enterprises — had more than any other city. And many are small entrepreneurs according to NPR. Anne-Charlotte Mornington is just one they spoke with, and she is running around the food market in London's super-hip Camden neighborhood with a rolling suitcase and a giant tarp bag filled with empty tupperware boxes. She's going around from stall to stall, asking for leftovers. She actually works for the food-sharing app Olio.
Olio wants to make it easy for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. "These vendors usually don't have enough surplus to donate to a charity or something, but they still end up having to throw away quite a lot at the end of the day," Mornington explains. "So either I or some volunteers will come everyday to collect any scraps and put it on the app."
In fact, anybody in London with a smartphone — be it a restaurant, grocer or just a regular Joe — can upload pictures of their leftover lunches and dinners, spare ingredients or unwanted produce onto the app. Those hankering for a free meal can then peruse the offerings, message those who've got food to spare and then go collect it — for free.
Over the past three years, according to the NPR report, technology has transformed the way Londoners are approaching food waste, according to Laura Hopper, the CEO of Plan Zheroes, a social network that connects charities that need food with local businesses that have a surplus.
And the food waste community of resources is growing: London-based startup Snact makes snacks out of produce that would otherwise be wasted, Rejuce, turns waste from London's wholesale markets into smoothies and juices. Rubies in the Rubble uses surplus fruit and veg to make relishes, and another called ChicPuses vegetables that are past their prime to make hummus.
Sole Share helps both consumers and fishermen avoid waste by allowing the former to specify online exactly how much they need so that the latter can deliver exactly that, no more and no less. Day Old is an online catering service that will bring boxes of day-old donuts, pastries and other baked goods straight to your office — and the proceeds all go to charities that tackle child hunger.
Some proven concepts that are ready to cross the pond.