An app that connects restaurants with surplus meals to customers hunting a bargain is already proving to be an innovative way of fighting food waste just a few months after its launch.
The Karma app has only been available in London since the start of this year, but is now being used by more than 300 restaurants and cafes.
Restaurants send out a notification when they have meals that would otherwise be thrown away and customers use the app to make a payment before collecting it. The initiative offers customers savings of up to 50% on food.
Karma currently boasts more than 300,000 users and claims to have facilitated the rescue of 400,000 food items since it was first launched at the end of 2016.
Co-founder, Elsa Bernadotte, said the company is delighted with the way that the industry and end-users have embraced the concept. She said it is an easy way to maximise resources and circumvent food from unnecessarily ending up in the bin.
“London has been a remarkably receptive market thanks to a digitally native and environmentally-conscious population,” she said.
The company has calculated that the app has saved 140 tonnes of food from ending up in the bin, enough to fill five double-decker buses or span the distance from Brick Lane to Hyde Park.
Hani Nakkach from the highly successful French bistro group, Aubaine, commented: “The success of Karma is in its simplicity; we’ve found an interesting way to tackle food waste whilst offering our customers more opportunities to enjoy our food.”
Other notable partners include, Michelin-starred Aquavit, Polpo, Detox Kitchen, YouMeSushi and Sager + Wilde.
Food waste remains a massive challenge for the industry. Figures show that the European food sector accounts for 11 million tonnes of edible food waste annually, not including the resources used for production.
Rebecca Dickinson, food development manager at Detox Kitchen, said: “It is a complex issue that can seem daunting for any restaurant to tackle on a local level, but Karma makes it simple and empowering.”