Aiming to eliminate food waste and help the hungry, a new app connects food pantries throughout Chicago.
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Many innovations in the food industry seek to eliminate food waste, an issue that contributes to climate change and could help tackle food poverty. One innovation eliminates food waste by converting organic waste into biodegradable plastics. Another innovation is a dynamic pricing system that uses RFID and electronic shelf labelling to reduce prices on items near to their expiration date. A new food waste innovation from the US is an app called Provision that connects food pantries around Chicago. With a network of food pantries, the app seeks to reduce food waste by listing surplus or deficit items in each pantry.
Provision works as a digital inventory tool. Food listings include information of each items expiry date and the quantity available. Pantry managers can use the web application to give away food they don’t need, such as any excess ingredients. In addition, users can track down any food they do need on the app. For each listing, contact information is available to ensure the pantry managers can communicate with ease. The app launched on May 15 and was created by VSA, a branding and marketing company. Provision is currently in beta testing in Chicago’s largest food pantries – Irving Park Community Food Pantry, Lakeview Pantry, Marillac St. Vincent Family Service and Jewish United Fund. Provision hopes to expand throughout Chicago by the end of 2018 and also expand to other US cities.
By connecting pantries across a city, Provision is a platform for a city-wide pantry. Its inventory tool makes food easy to find, easy to list and easy to transfer. The app therefore reduces the likelihood that food will go to waste. How else can technology enable innovation ideas to eliminate food waste?