Food Waste: There’s An App For That

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Humanity wastes a third of the food it produces. That’s unacceptable when we consider that more than one billion people go hungry every day and all the resources – such as human labor, water, electricity and fuel  – that are wasted with it.

Not bearing to see unsold bagels ending up in the trash can, Raj Karmani, a computer science student in Urbana, Ill., decided to create an app to give those bagels and other food rejects, a happier end.

This is how Zero Percent was born in 2013. The startup created a mobile app and online platform to connect businesses with surplus food and organizations that need that food. Since then, more than 1.5 million meals from over 150 food operators have been redistributed to more than 120 non-profits.

Zero Percent got an extra boost when Comcast NBCUniversal and its digital media partner NationSwell nominated it for their 2016 Tech Impact Award, which highlights tech entrepreneurs focused on social good.

The public was invited to vote after watching promo videos of each of the five finalists. Zero Percent won the $10,000 grant after receiving a whooping 31,000 votes. The win helped Zero Percent increase its media exposure considerably.

“Comcast NBCUniversal and NationSwell showed me how I could distribute Zero Percent’s video across many different channels to get even wider exposure. It has over 340,000 views on our Facebook page,” says Raj.

Zero Percent and the other finalists were also featured at the NationSwell Summit on Solutions held in New York last December. Raj and other 350-plus ‘change-makers’ discussed, networked and exchanged ideas on how to further advance their projects. He also made a 45-minute presentation, gaining further exposure and potential new partnerships.

The next step for Zero Percent is to add a feature whereby anyone can sponsor a meal for $10 an month. The feature will allow users to track the impact of their contribution.

Image credit: Comcast