Anyone who works in the restaurant, catering, or supermarket industry will know that food waste is a gigantic problem. Too often, day-old baked goods and food items that have sat on the shelves beyond their expiry date are disposed of and end up in the trash.
According to this 2019 report by the Canadian food rescue organization Second Harvest, 35.5 million tons of food produced in Canada is wasted each year, and 11.2 million tons could be used to support communities in need across the country.
“The fact is that we know that there’s a lot of food to go around… a lot of times things are put into the landfill or are wasted when they’re actually edible, that’s the whole concept of avoidable food waste,” says Tammara Soma, research director at the Food Systems Lab at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
To meet this issue, these three food waste apps are trying to reduce food waste while saving users money.
Too Good To Go
This app is currently servicing Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal (with plans to expand in 2022), but the idea behind it was actually born in Denmark. The goal of the app is to reduce food waste by permitting consumers to buy surplus food from restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets at a discounted rate.
The app also urges users to donate money to local food charities.
Once users download the free app and create a profile, they can choose to be shown stores within a three to 30 km radius. Businesses with surplus food will show the number of “surprise bags” they have and at what time they are available for pick up. Users won’t know exactly what the bags contain, which is what gives them their name.
If something tickles your fancy, then you can reserve a bag. The app will then give you an order ID that you’ll have to show for pickup. All that’s left to do is to wait for the email and phone notification that will remind you what time your bag is ready to be collected.
Flashfood, which works with participating grocery stores across the nation, was created by Josh Domingues who was inspired when he realized that supermarkets frequently ross food items that are within two weeks of their best before dates.
The app allows customers to purchase food that is approaching its best before date at a discounted price, intercepting its journey to the trash.
After downloading the free app and creating a profile, the app will show you a map of participating grocery stores near you with available food items. The food for sale will be displayed with its original value, its discounted price, and its best before date. Choose your snacks and ingredients, pay on the app, and then pick it up!
This app works similarly to Flashfood and is available at participating Metro and IGA stores in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. Scroll through the discounted items that are conveniently separated into distinct food groups such as fruits and veg, meat and poultry, etc.
Once you’ve filled your cart to your heart’s content, check out and wait for the app to notify you when your purchases are ready for pickup at the store.