We all know food waste is a huge issue, to the tune of around 1.3 billion tonnes a year. That’s a whopping third of all food produced for human consumption.
Everyone knows something needs to be done about it, and there are more and more companies coming up with ideas and possible solutions.
One of those companies is Karma. Its ‘waste not, want not’ ethos gives consumers the chance to pick up food that would otherwise go to waste from their local favourite restaurants, cafes and kitchens at a 50% discount, via their app.
It started out in Sweden (currently used by 5% of the Swedish population) and is now available in London and Paris. It’s recently reached the milestone of 1m users and more than 2m meals saved from landfill. Which is impressive.
But it’s not just the food collection from restaurants, as the company will be bringing a big, pink smart refrigerator to London.
At Japan Centre Ichiba, Europe’s largest Japanese food hall, the big Electrolux fridge will be integrated with Karma’s app.
It creates a storage and pickup point for unsold food that would otherwise have been thrown away.
How does it work?
Someone makes a purchase through the Karma app and goes to pick up their order from the smart fridge.
The user unlocks the fridge with their phone, which is only unlocked after you’ve bought something.
Rescued items are shown on your order receipt, which you show at the checkout before leaving. Enjoy your rescued food.
There are already Karma/Electrolux fridges in supermarkets in Sweden, and Karma plans to roll out another 100.
While there is a bit of a risk that someone could buy one item, and empty the whole fridge, Karma has said it hasn’t happened yet with the 30 it already has in place. (They're probably concerned about all the bad Karma they'd have coming their way...)
Karma isn’t the only food waste app out there. Denmark’s Too Good to Go and MealPal are also helping to reduce food waste. With Karma and MealPal, you buy an individual item, whereas Too Good to Go gives you a mixed bag of goodies. But in all cases, it’s a win-win...win, for consumers, the planet and the companies involved.
Now all that needs to happen is growth. More places need to sign up, more cities, and more consumers. There’s no downside really: it just takes time for these things to catch on.