Lots of food thrown out. These Food-Waste Apps Let You Buy Cheap.

Macaluso points out that these apps are geared towards selling small volumes of perishable goods, while food banks are often set up to handle much larger donations. “So those kinds of apps are filling a really interesting and unique niche,” he said.

These apps also have the ability to reach people who are facing food insecurity. Flashfood says a small number of its shoppers (about a fifth) experience food insecurity, according to its own survey data, and the company is working to enable government assistance cards as a payment method. A Too Good To Go spokesperson said the company does not accept food stamps and does not have similar data on users.

One complication is that, according to interviews with several companies that sell on Too Good To Go, at least some of the items for sale aren’t necessarily what buyers might think of as “real waste.” Products”. The owner of a dessert shop in Baltimore said she sees the app as a promotional tool to reach new customers by selling what she calls “small samples.” One beverage company owner said he used the app to sell discontinued products, but also sell new flavors there in the hope of attracting new customers.

Mr. Crummie, director of Too Good To Go, said the app’s required price point discourages this kind of behavior. “If someone pays $5, they get $15 worth of food,” he said. “So it’s not a profit-making platform.” He added that the company has responded to user reviews, and when businesses abuse the platform, it terminates partnerships.

Despite that, Professor Broad Leib said she thought these apps would make users rethink their own food waste, and that would be beneficial. “The best ways to change consumer behavior are just to make people more aware of the problems,” she said.

Ms. Rexrode, a tax analyst in Austin who uses Too Good To Go, has been thinking about her impact on the climate. The app includes detailed information on how many pounds of carbon dioxide she has “saved” based on how many unexpected bags she bought, 419 pounds in her case.

However, she points out, that number may not be entirely accurate. Ms Rexrode said: “They don’t know how much I contributed when I went to get the food. “I am driving!”

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