Can shoppers save money while reducing food waste?
A smartphone app meant to tackle the problem of food waste and help customers keep their grocery bill down in the process is hoping to make a name for itself in the U.S.
Flashfood just received a round of venture capital funding that it plans to use to fund an expansion of its U.S. presence, according to TechCrunch. Flashfood is a marketplace application that allows users to find discounted food nearing its expiration date at nearby participating grocers, and even purchase the food via the app for pickup at in-store “Flashfood zones.”
The Canadian startup has already partnered with chains as major as Loblaw, Family Fare and Stop & Shop. The plan for expansion consists of establishing new U.S. grocery partners and other strategic partnerships, as well as expanding its user base across the entire country. The app is currently available in 17 U.S. states.
Food waste is a perennial problem in this country. Environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that up to 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten.
As customer concerns over environmental issues have grown in recent years, some major grocers have taken steps to address the issue. Kroger, Stop & Shop and other major retailers have, for instance, begun to implement large scale anaerobic digesters that break down organic material as an alternative to throwing it into landfills. Some grocers have begun selling marked-down “ugly” fruits and vegetables that are often overlooked in favor of more visually appealing produce.
Along with looking favorably on Flashfood’s environmental proposition, customers may also be on the lookout for mobile apps that promise deep discounts on groceries.
Food prices continue to rise, according to CNBC, although grocery shoppers do not appear to have shifted spending habits despite an awareness of price hikes. There are bellwethers, however, of an impending wave of consumer price-consciousness. Customers purchasing in categories like beer, tobacco and energy drinks are beginning to look for cheaper options than their regular buys.
- Flashfood raises $12.3M to scale its grocery app that helps tackle retail food waste – TechCrunch
- Food Waste – NRDC
- Can grocers digest their way to zero waste? – RetailWire
- Food and drink prices are going up. CEOs say consumers aren’t changing their shopping behavior yet – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important do you think the reduction of food waste is to the U.S. consumer and what should grocers do to address the issue? Do you see Flashfood or a similar app becoming a go-to grocery shopping solution in the U.S. with the right retail partners?