A French start-up has created an app to reduce food waste and help consumers find cheap food. OptiMiam (a play on the words optimum and the French word for yum, “miam”) allows consumers to buy food for cheap if the ingredients are close to, but not passed, their expiration date. The app reduces food waste by providing an incentive to purchase slightly older but still perfectly healthy and edible food that otherwise would just end up getting thrown out.
Restaurants and bakeries register their business on the OptiMiam website and provide deals on products that are near their expiration or best-used-by date. People looking for lunch or a snack can then log in on their phone and see the discounts and deals at nearby bakeries and restaurants. The app currently only works in Paris, but the company hopes to expand to other cities in France – and eventually to other countries – soon.
Limiting food waste is a huge focus of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of the Environment – and with good reason. The food industry is one of the largest emitters of CO2 in the world, and in consequence any food that goes uneaten represents CO2 being released into the atmosphere for no good reason. If food waste can be reduced, a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated.
The French Ministry of Agriculture estimates that as many as 10 million metric tons of food is wasted in France every year, including a large amount of food that’s still perfectly edible. The French government has launched several efforts to reduce this food waste problem, including restrictions on throwing out food at large grocery stores, promoting composting, preventing the need for food waste and a promotional campaign to use take out bags at restaurants instead of letting uneaten food go to waste.
OptiMiam plays directly into that focus on eliminating food waste – and saves people money while doing it. Additionally, food stores end up getting more business for products that otherwise would have been thrown in the trash.