box of produce

Food waste is a big problem – more than one-third of the world’s annual food production goes uneaten, accounting for 8% of global greenhouse emissions. For Americans, that amounts to about $660 of wasted food per person. There are a lot of old-fashioned tricks to reduce food waste – from meal planning to purchasing imperfect produce. But technology can play a role, too. Here are just a few of the apps that are helping people reduce food waste from their workplaces and homes.

Food Rescue Hero

For people who want to make a difference beyond their own kitchens, Food Rescue Hero is an app that mobilizes volunteers to transport surplus food to those who can use it. The app matches food donations to the appropriate nonprofits, coordinates a last-mile transportation network of volunteers, trains volunteers on food safety, and tracks data and analytics to measure impact on hunger and the environment. During 2023, the project prevented 4,387,523 pounds of food waste.

Food Rescue Hero launched in Pittsburgh and now operates in 16 cities. If yours isn’t one of them, contact them to find out how to bring Food Rescue Hero to your area.

Young man in food delivery van
Food Rescue Hero is an app that mobilizes volunteers to transport surplus food to those who can use it. Similarly, Food Rescue US engages volunteers to transfer fresh food surpluses from local businesses to social service agencies serving the food insecure.

Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go helps restaurants and grocery stores sell food at a discount instead of throwing it away at closing time. The app has helped more than 200 million meals get to people instead of the landfill. Individuals use the app to reserve food that would otherwise go to waste from local retailers and restaurants for pickup at the end of the day.

Taking advantage of the app requires some flexibility from shoppers, but for starving students and night owls, it can result in some gourmet savings. Founded in 2016 in Copenhagen, Too Good To Go operates in 17 countries, and adds new cities across America frequently.


Do you find yourself with lots of leftover food scraps when cooking? ShareWaste is a community networking app that connects Australian to local composters, worm farmers, and farmers who can use those scraps to make soil or feed livestock. Whether you cook for the family or at a restaurant, this app is the fast lane to putting food scraps to work instead of sending them to a landfill. We’d love to see it go live in the U.S. ShareWaste is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.


Olio is a local sharing app that works much like Too Good To Go, except it connects neighbors instead of businesses and customers. Whether you can’t keep up with your garden’s bounty or you made too much soup, you can post a photo of your shareable food for others to claim. Post in the Free section to give it away, or in the Made section to sell it. More than seven million people use Olio. Visit the App Store or Google Play to start sharing, and consider volunteering to help transport food from businesses to local food banks and distribution sites.

Foodprint Group

We notice the food we throw away at home, but the food we don’t eat when we’re away from home is a big part of the food waste problem. As much as 12% of food waste may be generated in the hospitality sector. Foodprint Group is a woman-owned company whose services are used by hotels and other hospitality businesses to reduce food waste. Their resources help food service providers perform waste audits, make better purchasing decisions, and develop front- and back-of-house programs to reduce waste. As of this writing, FoodPrint has diverted 16 million pounds of waste from landfills.

Food orders on counter in restaurant
Apps like Too Good To Go and FoodForAll help connect shoppers to discounted restaurant food that would otherwise go to waste, while Foodprint Group helps hotels and other hospitality businesses reduce food waste in the first place.


Goodr is a Black-owned waste management and hunger relief company that grew out of a local initiative to feed people experiencing food insecurity in Atlanta. Today, Goodr partners with companies across the country to provide the technology and logistical support to track and donate surplus food while earning charitable tax benefits. Their solutions include food pantries and pop-up grocery stores in food-insecure neighborhoods, meal deliveries, and student snack packs. The organization has served 30 million meals to people in need and prevented 4 million pounds of food from going to landfill.

Food Rescue US

Food Rescue US is another app that engages volunteers to transfer fresh food surpluses from local businesses to social service agencies serving the food insecure. Because the food never needs to be warehoused, it helps get perishables and prepared foods to the people who need them most. Volunteers can “adopt” a routine food rescue or sign up whenever they have time to make a delivery. Food Rescue US operates in 38 locations in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

If they haven’t come to your area yet, visit their Launch a Site page to learn how to bring Food Rescue US to your community.

Save the Food

If you want to get your own house in order before you start volunteering, Save the Food has a suite of web-based tools to help you. The Guest-imator helps you estimate how much food to make for a gathering; Meal Prep Mate helps you create your shopping list and meal plans; the Interactive Storage Guide has encyclopedic knowledge on how to store food best, how long it should stay there, and even how to use it if it’s a little past its prime. Save the Food’s meal planner also works on Amazon’s Alexa assistant devices.

Feature image: szmuli –

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 22, 2022, and was updated in January 2024.

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.