Create a technology-based solution to put an end to food waste in the home
Originally published for Hack for Impact @Norrsken House 2019
Product Owner of Karma for Buyers
Globally, about one third of all food produced is wasted. Given that agriculture and food production cause up to 23% of yearly net global greenhouse gas emissions, this (largely avoidable) waste represents an opportunity to eliminate a substantial driver of human-caused climate change.
Like many other facets of environmental impact, developed countries (such as Sweden) have an outsized per-capita impact; in Europe and North America, the average person wastes 95-115kg of food per year, compared to 6-11kg per year in sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia.1 In fact, the amount of food wasted in higher income countries is roughly equal to the total net food production in Sub-Saharan Africa1. While food waste in developing countries happens mostly during post-harvest, processing, and distribution, in industrialized countries, about one third of this waste happens at the consumer level1.
Food that is wasted at the consumer level is most often still perfectly edible; the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has highlighted that “insufficient purchase planning and expiring ‘best-before-dates’... cause large amounts of waste, in combination with the careless attitude of those consumers who can afford to waste food”2., suggesting that education, aligning incentives and proper planning at the consumer level could have a large positive effect in tackling the larger food waste issue.
Karma is a Swedish startup founded in Stockholm, November 2016. The app connects surplus food from restaurants, cafes and grocery stores to consumers for a lower price. As a result, users eat great food for less and businesses receive an additional revenue stream — all while reducing food waste.
Karma has reached 150 Swedish cities, working with 2000 retailers, and attracting 500,000 app users. In February 2018, Karma launched in London and one year later, setup a third market in Paris. To date, 295 tonnes food has been rescued with the app!
The broad goal here is to reduce the amount of once-edible food that is thrown away from homes. Some avenues to explore might be in educating consumers about the impact of their food waste, in building tools that help them get a better sense of how much and what types of food they most frequently waste, or in providing a means to prevent food that has already been bought from being thrown out (suggesting recipes, peer sharing, etc).
Anyone who buys food from a grocery store in Europe or North America - mothers, bachelors, college students, you name it!
This Challenge most clearly addresses Goal #12 (Responsible Consumption), but has indirect effects on Goal #13 (Climate Action), Goal #14 (Life Below Water), Goal #15 (Life on Land), and Goal #2 (No Hunger).
#zerofoodwastegeneration #fightfoodwaste #karmaapp
We can’t promise ongoing support for any awesome projects started here, but we’d love to hear your ideas, give code review feedback, and explore if there are ways Karma can support or integrate with the solutions you create going forward!
1: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). "Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention." 2011. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2697e.pdf 2: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land: Summary for Policymakers." August 2019. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/3.-Summary-of-Headline-Statements.pdf