Food waste is a serious problem in the United States. American families throw out about 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy, a National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) paper released in August found. A total of 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. ends up uneaten, which amounts to over 20 pounds of food per person every month.
Enter four mobile apps that can help users reduce food waste: Leloca, Gojee, Green Egg Shopper, and 222 Million Tons. Leloca is an app available for iPhone and Android-based smart phone users which helps minimize restaurant waste by offering diners a great deal. When there is an open table at a restaurant, you can be sure that food will be wasted. This app allows potential diners to get a great deal when there's an open table. The deals are generally 30 to 50 percent off. The app is free to use, and the deals must be redeemed within 45 minutes.
Gojee (available for iPhones, Android smart phones and iPads) allows people to exchange recipes, and users can search for recipes by ingredients. For example, if I have coconut milk in my fridge, I can search for recipes containing coconut milk. Containing about 10,000 recipes from over 300 contributors on the internet, users are sure to find recipes based on ingredients they already have in their fridges or pantries. Cnet recommends Gojee for people "who have a desire to cook but may not necessarily have a specific dish in mind."
222 Million Tons is an iPad app that gets its name from the 222 million tons of food wasted every year in industrialized nations, according to a 2011 UN study. The app creates one-week menus and shopping lists according to the size of a person's household. The website for the app asks, "No one wants to waste food, but how does one person get through a bunch of celery before it goes limp without getting sick of celery?" That's question that inspired the developers to create the app.
The Green Egg Shopper for iPhones allows users to manage and organize grocery shopping lists. Users can sort lists alphabetically, by category, or priority. They can also view list of items near expiration, and can sort them with three categories of shelf life (short, medium, long). The app also allows users to link a store to the list, and take and attach photos to the items on their lists. Users are able to check items off of their list once it is purchased. The paid version allows users to create multiple shopping lists.
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.