Americans turned to food waste apps as grocery prices rose
Cash-strapped customers are looking for new ways to cut grocery costs as food inflation continues to threaten household budgets. Families have begun turning to apps that let them circumvent paying full price by pointing them right to the food that is nearing its sell-by date.
A report from Next City discusses an emerging trend of families reaching for grocery apps like Flashfood, Too Good to Go, Food For All, Karma and Olio, which allow users to purchase food from nearby restaurants or grocers that is on the way to being thrown out.
Flashfood CEO Josh Domingues confirmed that the app, which boasts more than 700,000 active users, has experienced a big bump in growth due to inflation. Since 2022 the expanded user base has also exhibited new habits. Users are making longer trips to get discounted food from grocers, and they are visiting multiple locations for discounted groceries in a single day.
Too Good To Go, which works with restaurants and cafes, has facilitated the purchase of 1.3 million meals nearing sell-by dates in the last seven months, the same number of meals sold through the app over the previous two years.
Grocers were beginning to explore partnerships with food waste apps because of their environmental missions even before inflation made more consumers take a second look at their grocery bills.
Meijer in May reported that its partnership with Flashfood had diverted more than one million pounds of food that would otherwise have been thrown out. The grocer began expanding the use of Flashfood across its full footprint in 2021 after a successful 2019 pilot program. The pilot showed a 10 percent reduction in food waste for the test stores.
But with inflation raging, there is no doubt that customers are looking for a discount as much as a way to reduce food waste. In April, research showed hard discount grocers like Aldi and Lidl picking up steam in the U.S., which a Bloomberg article anticipated could pose a threat to incumbents like Walmart and Target as inflation pushed customers to further cut costs.
- With Grocery Prices Up, Families Turn To Food Waste Apps – Next City
- Meijer Redirects More Than 1M Pounds of Food Waste Through Flashfood Program – Meijer
- Inflation Is Helping Europe’s Discount Stores Gain on Walmart – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see the increasing popularity of food waste apps affecting the grocery and foodservice industries? Should all grocers partner with food waste apps or are there downsides to making discounted groceries easier to find?