The average household throws away nearly £500 worth of food each year, according to new research, so tackling the amount of food you waste could give your bank balance a significant boost.
Research by the climate action organisation, WRAP, found that UK households throw away the equivalent of a staggering £14 billion worth of food yearly, accounting for 70% of all food waste in the UK. With 28.2m households nationwide, this works out at just under £500 worth of wasted food per household every year.
Tackling the amount of food you waste can feel tricky, particularly when so many of us end up doing so out of habit. There are however some apps out there that can make things easier, so here’s our run down of some of the best.
Kitche is an app that helps you tackle food waste by helping you track the food you have at home, find recipe inspiration using the ingredients you already have, and understand the cost and environmental impact of your food waste.
The app is simple to use, with four main sections:
This is where you log, manage and view the food you have at home, or have just bought.
To get started with the app, you’ll need to enter all the foods you have in your kitchen, which might seem like a daunting task, so you could just start with things that perish quickly. You have a number of options of how to add items, including receipt scanning, barcode scanning, voice input or manual entry.
Once you’ve got your list of foods, you can then go through and add the price of the items, categorise them and set an expiry date if you want to be prompted to use them before they go off.
In this section you can also create a shopping list of things that you need to buy and you can then swipe these to add them to your list.
The final function in this section is the ‘Ditched’ category, where you log any food that’s gone to waste. When you ‘Ditch’ a food you’ll be asked how much of it was wasted and it will take the price you entered and divide it up to give you a financial view of your food waste. The idea is that seeing the exact amount that you’re literally throwing in the bin can be a helpful prompt to change your habits.
Kitche has a recipe finder, with over 1,000 recipes. Through this function, you’re able to select ingredients you have in the products section and the recipe finder will generate a recipe for you based on those ingredients. You can save your favourites, too.
This section outlines the environmental and financial impact of saving food rather than throwing it away. It gives you weekly analysis of how much the food you’ve binned has cost you as well as awarding you badges for consistent use.
The Nosh app works like a personal stock count, allowing you to track what’s in your fridge, freezer and cupboards, as well as monitoring use-by and best-before dates. It also provides recipe suggestions based on what you have in your kitchen.
You can get weekly analytics on your buying and food waste habits too.
It’s a really simple app to use, with three main sections:
This is where you can log your food under one of five categories: uncategorized, fridge, freezer, pantry or medicine. It will ask you to name the food, the quantity you have and an expiry date.
You can either add these manually, or you can scan the barcodes on your food, or the receipt from your food shop for quicker entry.
There’s a simple traffic light system at the top of this tab which tells you how many of your items have at least four days before their expiry date (blue thumbs up), have less than 3 days till their expiry date (the yellow exclamation symbol) and how many expire within one day (red exclamation mark).
You can also tap the knife and fork icon to find recipes using the ingredients on your list.
A handy little feature that lets you write out your shopping list and tick things off as you buy them.
NoWaste works in a really similar way to Nosh, allowing you to create an inventory of your food, get reminders of expiration dates, write shopping lists and understand your environmental impact.
One thing that sets it apart from other apps is that anyone you live with can also use NoWaste and you can share data with each other. So if there are multiple people in your household, you can all connect your apps so if one of you updates it, it will update it for everyone. This allows you to manage your food together and understand your collective food waste.
The NoWaste app has three main sections:
This is where you’ll create your food inventory, organising it by whether it’s in your freezer, fridge or pantry.
Again, you have a number of options for inputting food including, scanning and manual entry. A handy feature that NoWaste has is automated quick selection options for a wide range of foods, so you can quickly set expiry dates without having to scroll through, as well as the option to make more notes about specific items.
You can also sort this section by category which makes it easier to find specific items.
You can write out shopping lists here, and you can also make a list of essential items that you buy frequently, so you don’t have to keep adding them to the list.
This section outlines the impact that NoWaste is having on food waste and carbon emissions, but also helps you make more environmentally aware choices by highlighting which of your foods are more carbon heavy. It also breaks down the amount of food you track, consume and waste.
Olio is slightly different from the other apps we’ve listed here. Rather than an app that helps you manage the food you already have, Olio is a sharing app that lets you share excess or unwanted items with others in your local area. The idea is that if you have too much of something, you can share it with your neighbours so it doesn’t go to waste, and if you need something, you can put out a request and someone might be able to offer it for you.
It’s not just restricted to food, you can share all manner of things from printer ink to plastic bags. It’s a hugely popular app, with over 5m downloads
The app is split into two sections: Food and Non-food, and for both sections you can either search for items in your local area, share something (simply take a photo of the item, upload it to the app and wait for the requests to come in) or put a request out for an item you need.
There are lots of other features in the app, including goals, forums, messaging functions, an outline of your environmental impact and more.
Too good to go
Too good to go helps tackle food waste from restaurants, cafes, shops and local businesses, by letting you buy food from them that would otherwise end up in the bin. So while this won’t necessarily reduce your personal food waste, you might be able to grab a bargain, and reduce commercial food waste in your area.
Through the app, you can see the businesses that have food available that day in your area and you can buy a ‘magic bag’ from them. These usually contain a surprise mixture of products that have been put together for you, and they could contain anything from that shop. They typically cost anything from £1 up to £7, but you’ll always get a considerable discount on the food in the bag.
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