The new app “Food for All” seems to kill two birds with one stone, offering restaurant-quality food at discounted prices while limiting food waste and, in turn, helping the environment.
Food for All got its start in Cambridge, Mass., where its founders were looking for ways to reduce food waste. Their solution was to talk to restaurant owners to sell excess food at a discount instead of throwing it out after closing. In fact, the food is often sold at up to 80 percent off its original price. There are currently more than 60 participating restaurants in Boston and New York City, with plans to expand to more United States cities in the works.
Food waste is a major problem in the U.S., and Food for All directly targets this issue. According to the app, the U.S. ranked as the number one producer of food waste. Approximately 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. winds up in a landfill. This is not only expensive, as it costs consumers and distributors billions of dollars, but it is also harmful to the environment as landfills release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and exacerbate climate change.
The app’s services reached New York after a crowdfunding campaign in 2016 successfully met the projected goal of $50,000. Food for All is partner with several restaurants and cafes in Greenwich Village, meaning it is well suited for NYU students looking to be both environmentally friendly and financially responsible. It is both easy to use and full of opportunities to make donations to food banks or register as an affiliated restaurant.
Users can view restaurants by proximity or search for places they may know are participating. Though users are unable to view a menu or reserve a specific food item, the customer sees a list of what they may be able to choose from depending on availability. The customer then pays the discounted price and picks up their order just before closing. It may frustrate some to not know for certain what they will take home, even as they pay in advance. However, this method is most convenient for restaurants.
Sabine Valenga, co-founder and CMO of Food for All, shared her thoughts on food waste in a press release.
“Food waste is disrespectful on so many levels – to the hungry, to the people that spend their time cooking, and to our natural resources,” Valanga said. “Yet, it is a practice that is generally accepted and this is what makes fighting it so challenging,” she said in the company’s press release. “We want to provide a smart and simple solution for good food that would otherwise be wasted, while also creating awareness around the social and environmental consequences of throwing it away.”
According to Food for All, among the participating restaurants in NYC are Semsom Eatery, Whoops!, Abracadabra Brooklyn, The Bean, Little Rascal, Magic Mix Juicery, Kopi Kopi, Ancolie, Carma Asian Tapas, Pita Grill, and Gimme! Coffee. For more information, visit foodforall.us.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email Jillian Harrington at [email protected]