"Good food is a terrible thing to waste." So reads the opening quote on PareUp's website. PareUp is a new app that aims to connect consumers to restaurants and food shops with excess food. Before retailers throw away food, they alert PareUp users and offer the extra food at a discounted price.
In a country that wastes between 30 and 40 percent of its food, PareUp is an app that is sorely needed.
PareUp is the brainchild of Margaret Tung, Jason Chen and Anuj Jhunjhunwala. The founders identified the common issue of throwing away unused food at home, and wanted to help chronic food wasters make good use of food doomed for the trash. They realized the worst offenders, restaurants and food stores, were also the best targets for change. What if restaurants could profit off excess food by selling it instead of throwing it away? Wouldn't consumers be interested in food sold at discounted prices? Thus PareUp was founded and an app is set to launch by the end of the summer.
The retailers will set the rate of the discounted food, and consumers can choose to take advantage of it if they're interested. Bakeries and coffee shops that sell baked goods are an obvious starting point. Many bakeries already give out "day old" pastries for a discounted price, and PareUp is hoping to bring that practice to all kinds of food retailers. PareUp has already partnered with a handful of coffee shops and bakeries in New York City, including Oslo Coffee Roasters, PushCart Coffee and Breads Bakery. The company has also worked with vendors at Smorgasburg.
PareUp is a win-win for businesses and consumers alike. The businesses can make money off food they would otherwise have thrown away, and consumers can obtain food at cheaper prices. Of course it's also a win for the environment. Food makes up the majority of waste that goes into our landfills in the U.S., and that waste contributes to greenhouse gases, says EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. Furthermore, when food is thrown out, we're not just wasting the food. We also lose all the natural resources that went into producing the food -- $700 billion worth, according to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
The statistics are startling, and we need to address the problem from all angles. PareUp is approaching the food waste crisis from a unique angle, employing financial incentive for businesses and consumers alike.