A Finnish app wants to eliminate food waste
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Photo Credit: Froodly

Finnish app Froodly will give customers discounts for uploading photos of and buying soon to be expired food. Also, John Oliver would likely be a fan

Do you feel like fighting food waste and getting discounts on groceries at the same time? Then Froodly might be your kind of app – if you’re in Findland.

Froodly is a mobile app that helps shoppers in Helsinki share supermarket products that are about to expire in order to fight food waste and save money. The app’s registered users take pictures of expiring products while shopping, which they upload to Froodly for others to see. Users are rewarded with points and discounts.

“The app allows everyday consumers to fight food waste and contribute to the fight against the problem to whichever degree they so choose. The app allows consumers to not only buy these products so that they can save expiring food and save money during their everyday shopping, but it also allows them to further contribute by uploading the content of these expiring products to our app, and earn great rewards by doing so,” Brennan Clark, Froodly’s co-founder, told Geektime.

An idea born out of idealism and a Start-Up Weekend

While working for a food bank, Clark discovered how serious the problem of food waste was. After a short while, the idea of Froodly was born.

“About 2 months ago, Shahram Eivazi (co-founder) and I met at Start-Up Weekend Helsinki, and the idea of Froodly was born there. The food industry is one that is only recently adopting technology, and we believe that the best way to solve the problem of retail food waste is to empower consumers to be the ones to take action, and Froodly is providing the technology and the platform for consumers to do so,” Clark said.

Froodly currently employs a staff of four and is running test campaigns for various validations with a partner supermarket, 200 users, and 10 contributors. The official release of the app will take place on September 1, with major Helsinki supermarkets participating.

Froodly makes its money with commissions earned from supermarkets.

“The revenue model comes from a percentage of the savings that supermarkets get from being on our app in the form of reduced food waste. Growing and strengthening the network of contributors and users give us an increasingly larger commission using this revenue model. There will also be the chance of using the aggregated data from user base’s buying habits that shop-owners will be interested in,” Clark said.

While the company has no domestic competition, the rest of the world has already seen its share of startups and apps fighting food waste.

“At the moment the biggest competitors are using similar platforms in various countries across Europe. In France, Zéro-Gâchis has partnered with four supermarkets that upload the information of the expiring products. The German company FoodLoop uses barcode technology to upload the information on their platform, and is running some Spanish PlusFresc markets as well as three organic markets in Germany. Another interesting approach is from BuyMeBy in the U.S., which offers an app that allows supermarkets to publish discounts on items approaching their expiration date, and the discount increases automatically as it gets closer to the expiration date,” Clark concluded.

Is eating products close to their expiration date healthy? According to John Oliver, definitely

Actually, yes. Expiration dates are conservative and products often are fresh for weeks past their supposed expiration date.

In fact, John Oliver from HBO’s Last Week Tonight did a wonderfully in-depth episode about food waste and the misconceptions behind expiration dates in mid July. You can check it out here:

Hopefully this increasing awareness of the lack of danger around food close to expiration will encourage more individuals to try these apps and decrease their carbon footprint.

Laura Rosbrow contributed reporting. 

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Dennis Mitzner

About Dennis Mitzner

Dennis Mitzner writes about Scandinavian and Israeli startups, tech trends, and politics.

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  • Rod Averbuch

    Food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers.
    Fortunately, there are new ways to reduce fresh food waste.
    The new open GS1 DataBar barcode standard enables new food waste reduction applications that offer relevant, environmentally friendly and personalized fresh food deals.
    An example of such an application is the “End Grocery Waste” App. This GS1 DataBar based application encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that makes fresh food affordable for all families, maximizes grocery retailer revenue, and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.