This App Will Intercept Billions Of Pounds Of Food Thrown Out By Restaurants

This App Will Intercept Billions Of Pounds Of Food Thrown Out By Restaurants
Food & Beverage

Feeding America launched a new tech platform called ‘MealConnect,’ which hopes to streamline organizational efforts to intercept wasted produce

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 30 june 2017

Approximately 72 billion pounds of safe, edible food is disposed of annually in the United States. With 52 billion of those pounds flowing directly from manufactures, restaurants and grocery stores directly to landfills, it’s a scary realization that there’s so few food recycling processes to redistribute commercial waste towards the one in eight food-insecure people within the country. In context, that’s roughly 42 million individuals struggling to afford sustenance that’s readily available, if only it weren’t so irresponsibly managed.

Feeding America, a nationwide network of over 200 food banks further divided across 60,000 partner organizations and efforts, has recently announced the development of a new tech platform dubbed ‘MealConnect,’ which it hopes will help streamline organizational efforts to intercept the fresh yet regularly wasted produce being thrown out throughout the nation. While the hunger-relief association continues to prove effective in reaching the needy, the collective efforts of the individual partners’ sourcing could use some restructuring.

MealConnect works as that much needed restructuring, acting as a dashboard for managing the flow of excess food in communities located near the aforementioned food banks distributed across the nation. After a three-year pilot period, the website and mobile app have finally launched in full force, and allow food donors – be it a retail chain like BurgerKing, a farmer’s market or a local mom-and-pop shop – to create a free account, upload information about their excess food, and select a time and date for a nearby partner organization to pickup their donation.

By centralizing a relatively disjointed donation process, MealConnect works to incentivize commercial food hubs to actually donate their unconsumed food instead of getting rid of it. Wherein previously the procedure entailed an arduous and convoluted means of establishing a time, place and agency to pick up the surplus food – an action that yields no benefit to the charitable business at hand – this simple and intuitive platform increases the likelihood of donations at large. In terms of pickup logistics, businesses need only fill out the reason for donation, ingredients and sell-by data, alongside the data and time, and the platform will work out rest. And for retailers who consistently donate the same foods, automatic check-ins based on previous data will make the process even quicker. All donations past and present will forever live on the dashboard, making it easy to reference previous exchanges and saving many headaches during tax season all the same.

Having facilitated over 730,000 pickups to date, moving an approximated 333 million pounds of food (enough for 278 million meals), the platform is backed by a $1.5million grant from Google’s philantrophic arm ‘Google.org,’ and will further use an additional $1million from General Mills to scale outwards of the 2500 communities currently using MealConnect. With an end goal of eliminating food insecurity by 2025 within U.S. borders, the platform marks a relatively cheap way for Feeding America to rapidly expand even beyond the 2.8 billion pounds of food it currently saves each year.

MealConnect

Approximately 72 billion pounds of safe, edible food is disposed of annually in the United States. With 52 billion of those pounds flowing directly from manufactures, restaurants and grocery stores directly to landfills, it’s a scary realization that there’s so few food recycling processes to redistribute commercial waste towards the one in eight food-insecure people within the country. In context, that’s roughly 42 million individuals struggling to afford sustenance that’s readily available, if only it weren’t so irresponsibly managed.

+app
+Food
+food waste
+hunger
+restaurant
+retail
+technology
+waste

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