A new app lets you buy unsold food from restaurants
SpareEat is a win-win for customers and businesses, co-founder Elie Fischer says.
When a restaurant closes its doors for the day, do you ever think about how much unsold or uneaten food goes to waste?
It was a question Elie Fischer grappled with daily during his years in the hotel and restaurant industry in both Tel Aviv, Israel, and Paris, France. Food waste from restaurants is a massive problem, responsible for 15% of all of the food that ends up in landfills.
Fischer knew that some of the waste is inevitable; food scraps from diners' plates, or expired food, cannot be reused and therefore must be trashed. But other leftover food – the stuff that just wasn't sold that day – is still salvageable.
That experience, combined with the lack of awareness of food waste among the general public, became the spark for his next venture. It's called SpareEat, and it's an app-based network of restaurants, grocery stores and cafes in Tel Aviv that have agreed to sell their unused food to customers at a discount of up to 50%. The partner businesses organize boxes of food toward the end of the day and allow customers to pick them up at a specific time slot.
"I wondered how I could reach as many people as possible and how to get them involved," Fischer told From The Grapevine. "That was the inspiration for the app."
Fischer, along with co-founder and CEO Laetitia Jessner, launched the app in February 2019. They currently operate only in Tel Aviv, but "the strategy is also to develop the app outside of Israel, U.S. included," Fischer told us. About 16 businesses have signed on with SpareEat so far.
To assure the quality of the food being sold on SpareEat, Fischer and Jessner work with businesses to determine the best products to use in SpareEat boxes. "The unsold items are still fresh and perfectly fine for consumption," Fischer said. "So there is no issue about quality with the partners. The standards are respected."
The result, the founders said, is a win-win for both customers and businesses.
"This is food that could eventually be sold the next day but which would have lost on quality, freshness and nutritional value," Fischer told us. "Many of our partners are happy to sell that food and to start the next morning only with fresh ingredients."
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