With the average UK family throwing out £730 of surplus items a year, eco-conscious consumers have found a hi-tech fix
There is such a thing as a free lunch, it turns out, as long as you don’t mind too much what it is. Tamara Wilson found hers a few streets away from her west London home – and as well as picking up some unwanted bread and fruit that would otherwise be thrown away, she made a new friend.
Wilson* is one of 3.4 million people around the world using an app designed to encourage people to give away rather than throw away surplus food. “It’s such a small thing, but it makes me feel good and my neighbour feel good. And a lot of small acts can end up making a big difference,” she said.
The last few years have seen an explosion in creative ways to tackle food waste by linking supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and individual households to local communities.
Olio, the app used by Wilson, saw a fivefold increase in listings during 2020, and the signs are that this “stratospheric growth” is continuing into 2021, said Tessa Clarke, its CEO and co-founder.
Too Good To Go, where consumers pay a heavily discounted price for food and meals that would otherwise be discarded, has seen 4.5 million downloads of its app in the UK, and 34 million globally since it launched in 2016 – “and the numbers are growing”, said Paschalis Loucaides, UK managing director.