New England grocery store chain Stop & Shop is further rolling out digital marketplace app Flashfood in an effort to eliminate food waste and cut grocery costs.
Stop & Shop, which has pledged to cut its food waste in half by 2030, is offering the app at five stores in Rhode Island following a successful pilot program last year at four locations in Worcester, Massachusetts. In eight months the program there prevented nearly 35,000 pounds of food waste, which Flashfood says equates to a reduction of 2,905 pounds of methane gas emissions.
Flashfood says overall it has diverted more than 30 million pounds of food from landfills and saved consumers nearly $90 million. The mobile app is now offered in more than 1,200 grocery stores in the United States and Canada.
Consumers can purchase food that is nearing best-by dates through the app, including fresh items like meat, produce and dairy. The cost of the items can be as much as 50% off.
Food waste costs can result in significant lost money and higher emissions.
The World Wildlife Fund says up to 8% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions would be eliminated with no food waste, and the US Department of Agriculture says retail food waste accounted for 31% of the food supply and at a loss of nearly $162 billion. The EPA has pledged to cut the country’s food waste in half by 2030.
Efforts such as that have resulted in a range of approaches to tackle the problem, including a California law that went into effect this year that aims to cut organic waste in the state by 75% by 2025. Part of that law requires food suppliers including grocery stores to donate 20% of food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Tools and technology to efficiently use food waste are also a growing trend. A solar-powered biodigester developed by Dubai Creative Group, Power Knot and Microsoft Dubai, for example, can process up to 6,600 pounds of food waste a day.
A similar program as Flashfood called Date Check Pro Software was rolled out in 425 Southeastern Grocers stores last year.
Michigan-based grocer Meijer began offering the Flashfood food waste program to all 256 supercenters and grocery stores in 2021. Meijer launched a pilot for the app in 2019 and decided to expand it after it reduced in-store food waste by 10%.
“Food waste has been a challenge for the grocery industry for decades, so we are excited to continue working with sustainably-minded partners like Stop & Shop to help alleviate this crisis,” says Josh Domingues, founder and CEO of Flashfood.