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Look in your garbage bin and assess how much food is there? That’s part of the answer to why food waste control has become so important. Yet, problem #1 is bridging the gap between excess food and hungry people. Also, food waste leads to significant monetary losses: only in the US, about 35% of food is wasted, valued at $408 billion, roughly 2% of the national GDP. No less critical is the issue of gas emissions during organic decomposition.
And the solution to this global problem is technology, including food waste management app development. It helps reduce food waste and deliver excess food to its intended destination. Such apps allow users to control expiration dates, sell products at reduced prices, and exchange or share them with those in need. Want to create something similar?
Softermii provides full-cycle mobile software development for HoReCa and other related industries. Our expertise and experience allows us to guarantee advanced solutions and a smooth building process.
In this article, we will discuss standard business models, required functionality, best UI/UX practices, and the cost of food waste app development.
Too Good To Go Business Model
The food waste management app Too Good To Go was launched in 2015 in Denmark. More than 10 million users have downloaded the app on Google Play alone. In 2021, it saved 1.3 million meals from landfill, according to the founders.
Too Good To Go helps shops, bakeries, and restaurants sell unused products at meagre prices. The application works on the principle of online payment and self-pickup. As a result, people get good food at a discount, and restaurants can sell it instead of sending it to landfill.
Too Good To Go works with Surprise Bags, allowing users to pay 3-6 dollars without knowing what they will receive. And they will get restaurant food left after a working day, the cost of which exceeds the price of Surprise Bags by 3-4 times. Restaurants benefit as they do not need to plan what to put inside.
But how Too Good To Go make money? The application takes a commission for each transaction and pays the rest to the store or restaurant owner. Consumers can pick up surprise packages for each establishment type at a specific time frame. The app has a rating system to prevent bad services, such as a closed restaurant or a lack of surprise bags.
And here are other applications similar to Too Good To Go:
- FoodForAll — affordable restaurant food available in the US (Boston & NYC)
- FlashFood — cut-price food from grocery stores in the US and Canada
- ChompHK — secret boxes from restaurants and store owners in Hong Kong
- Karma.life — low-cost food from restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores in Great Britain and Sweden
- Imperfect Foods — imperfect but still healthy and delicious food from grocery stores in the US, Canada, and European countries
- ResQ — affordable restaurant food with standard and secret options available in European countries
Types of Food Waste Management Apps
Food waste management apps pursue the same goal but operate differently. Not all of them aim to reduce food waste in restaurants and grocery stores because households produce them even twice as much.
Restaurant Discount Apps
We already covered this app type in the previous section, but let's recap its fundamental principles. As part of this business model, restaurants and grocery stores offer leftover food at the end of the day at deep discounts. Also, as a rule, a charity option is available to help users make a wholesale order and donate it to those in need.
Application examples: Too Good to Go, Food for All, FlashFood, and other food waste solutions based on discounts
Meal Sharing Apps
Households have a big responsibility for food waste, which is why some apps encourage sharing products and meals between neighbours. The principle is simple: one user lists the surplus food, and their neighbours can see the list and reserve specific positions. As a rule, food is picked up by self-delivery or in neutral territory.
Application example: OLIO, which allows users to exchange food and everyday items.
Apps with a charitable mission enable businesses to connect directly with non-governmental organisations that distribute food to those in need. Volunteers receive notifications, pick up products and deliver them to relief centres. Also, users can donate food directly.
Application example: Food Rescue US, where a restaurant, hotel, or individual household can be a donor.
Expiry Date Management Apps
Reports say that 20% of food gets wasted due to confusion in labelling. Many people throw away good products without understanding the difference between the expiry date, best-before date, use-by date, sell-by date, etc.
The solution is to scan the barcodes at home or in the store and get alerts when the expiration date is coming. It helps not to throw products away ahead of time and use them more efficiently, preparing them on time or selling them at a discount. Meal planning is important for anyone, especially those with diabetes.
Application examples: Fridgley for home use, NoFoodWasted with an online showcase of discounted goods with an approaching expiration date.
Recipes Suggesting Apps
When the expiration date comes, people prefer not to eat products as usual. Thus, the respective apps share unique recipes that make such foods delicious and safe.
Application example: the same Fridgely takes care not only of products’ expiration dates but also of cooking
Storage Managing Apps
Sometimes food spoils prematurely. To avoid this, some applications suggest efficient placement and correct tactics for storing food in the refrigerator, shelf, or warehouse.
Application examples: MyFood: food storage manager and NoWaste, which help users manage food storage at home, in a restaurant, or the store.
Supply Chain Stages
The application type depends on the supply chain stage. You can create a solution for any stage, helping its participants:
- Food producers — solve the problem of overproduction
- Fulfilment companies — reduce food waste during storage and transportation
- Retailers and distributors — optimize food distribution and storage and sell expired products
- Restaurants — optimize raw materials storage, sell extra food or donate it to those in need
Reasons to Make a Waste Food Delivery App
Applications for food waste management have many bonuses for each of the participating parties:
There are several reasons why restaurants and food centres develop food management apps:
- The initiative allows businesses to increase their revenue (or at least recoup costs) by selling groceries and meals at discounted prices instead of just throwing them away
- By participating in the food waste program, companies can evaluate the amount of unsold food and think about the efficiency of their business processes
- Companies no longer have to think about ways to dispose of food leftovers
- It is always a pity to throw away food made with love, energy, and resources
- Apps with an expiration tracker will remind staff which products to use first.
- Recipe solutions help restaurants rationally use leftover products and even supplement the restaurant menu
- App registration is the simplest way to do charity work
- Businesses can strengthen their market position, improving their reputation and attracting new customers.
Food waste management apps, proposing a 50-70% discount, become a real economical solution.
Other reasons include the following:
- Applications can change the culture of planning, consuming, and disposing of food.
- Also, users form a more thoughtful attitude towards purchases and spending.
- Participants begin to think about the problem of food waste and their responsibility to society. And by sharing their experience with friends and on social networks, they can provoke changes.
- The food waste management program helps users discover new places and dishes, enriching the customer experience.
- Many dishes can be frozen, which allows consumers to provide their family with breakfast or dinner for several days, saving a lot of time searching or preparing.
- Some apps allow users to share food with their neighbours or donate it to those in need, building social contacts.
For the Environment
According to wasted food statistics, roughly a third of the world's food is wasted. That's about 1.3 billion tons a year. Then it goes to the landfill, and its decomposition creates methane emissions, a greenhouse gas more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Also, throwing food away means wasting all the resources on its cultivation, collection, preparation, packaging, and transportation. In the US alone, the production of such wasted food annually generates greenhouse gases equivalent to 36.2 million cars.
If everyone could master food waste management, it would help eliminate 8% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
Accordingly, food waste management positively impacts the environment:
- Such an initiative helps reduce carbon emissions through fewer transport operations with smarter and shorter routes to the market.
- Less decaying food means less methane production, and hence, the greenhouse effect.
- Also, food waste management will prevent air pollution in big cities, reducing the amount of organic matter in city trash cans.
- Promoting sustainability also affects food production and harvesting, making it cleaner and cheaper.
Key Features of a Waste Food App
Application essence and usability are determined by its functionality. And here are the food waste management app features you should include when planning your startup:
Food and Restaurant Listing
Regardless of the app project type, it should have a list of restaurants or grocery stores and their products. This feature is important for sharing, buying, and donating.
Ratings and Reviews
Allow users to leave reviews and ratings for restaurants and stores, sharing their views on package availability, shop hours, etc.
Users should be able not only to pay for their food packages but also to receive a refund if they were spoiled, unavailable, or the establishment was closed.
Special Offer Screen
To keep the user activity at a high level, make a tab with unique offers on the main screen.
Maps and Location
Maps and geolocation make it easy to find restaurants and grocery stores. So, users can choose places nearby by setting their preferred range.
A barcode scanner will help you gather information about the product's list of ingredients, nutrients, date of packaging, and expiration date in the application.
Push notifications can vary depending on the application type, informing about expiration dates, new food announcements, requests from neighbors, and much more.
UI/UX Best Practices for Building a Food Waste Management Application
The average user spends in applications from 51.4 hours (65+ years old) to 112.6 (18-24 years old) monthly. However, the retention rate drops dramatically with time. For the food & drink app, after 30 days of downloading, it remains at 3.7%.
Therefore, to include your app in the list of often-used ones, you need to bet not only on fantastic business ideas but also on good UI/UX.
1. Сall to Action
- Save the top of the dashboard for the essential features
- Make it easy to get help with a chat image
- Use small, unobtrusive animations to demonstrate the need to enter text or click the button
- Keep users while processing requests with the small animations
2. Easy Adaptation
- Between original design/copyright and easy adaptation, always choose the latter
- Do not hide the search and primary page function
- Avoid horizontal scrolling and the need to zoom the image by spreading the fingers
- Simplify navigation by placing the main buttons in the thumb area
3. The Comfort of Use
- Do not distract the user with pop-ups
- Break multi-step processes into smaller tasks
- Suggest an alternative way to enter data, for example, using voice
- Ask users for data only where it is needed
- Allow registration and login using social networks or Google
- Segment your audience to make your marketing messages timely and relevant
- Use personalized push notifications
- Be sure to respond to feedback and listen to criticism and suggestions from users
- Use gamification and reward methods to boost engagement
- Offer worthwhile bonuses for some actions, such as saving a certain amount of food from being thrown away
- Create a spirit of competition between users within the application
- Give tactile feedback on successful or unsuccessful actions, but do not make the vibration intrusive
Tech Stack You Need To Create a Waste Food Delivery App
To build a food waste app like Too Good To Go, we recommend the following technology stack using open-source code solutions:
- Server provider — Azure, AWS, Apache
- Programming language — PHP, Ruby, Python
- Databases — MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL
- Back-end — Node.js, Django
- Front-end — Angular, Reactjs, React Native
- Payment — Stripe, Paypal, Amazon Payment, Wepay
- Pop-up & Form Builders — Poptin
- Restaurant listing — Foursquare API, Yelp Fusion API, Grubhub API
- Registration — Google sign-in, Facebook Login SDK
- Display & Programmatic Advertising — Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Moat,
- Map and geolocation — Google Maps, OpenStreetMaps, Mapkit JS
- Analytics — Google Analytics, Apple Analytics, Localytics, Moat
How Much Will Developing an App Like Too Good To Go Cost?
The price of developing a food waste management app depends on many factors:
- Business model
- The set of desired features
- Country where the development team is located
- Platform — would it be an iOS or Android app, or cross-platform solution
- Technology stack
- Design complexity
But how much does it cost to develop an app like Too Good To Go? We prepared some average numbers and step-by-step development guide:
Web and Mobile Development
The basic stage of food waste management app development.
This is where the process of tech implementation happens: from the administrative panel and up to features and technologies you want to have in your application, like chatbot or push notifications.
The key thing is that the more complicated features you want to implement, the higher the development costs will be.
Additionally, you need to consider the platform for your app, iOS or Android. If you want to cover the needs of all clients, it’s better to create cross-platform apps that will be compatible with the major OS.
Web and mobile development price: can take up to 900 hours, costing approximately $27,000.
A unique UI/UX design will create responsive user interfaces and positive experiences by studying your target audience. Furthermore, an adaptive food waste management app design will run smoothly on any device, especially if it is a cross-platform app.
UX/UI design price: up to 200 hours, costing $6,000.
Testing and Quality Assurance
It is crucial to test your product before releasing it to the public. At Softermii, manual and automated testing will ensure that performance is unimpaired and that all bugs are eliminated.
Furthermore, this will provide insights into the application’s usage, improving features and interfaces.
QA price: up to 200 hours, costing $6,000.
A project manager will ensure that milestones are met and that the project’s scope remains as you want it to be. They will also perform risk analyses to identify potential security weaknesses and communicate with you on the food waste application development process.
Project management typically costs 10% to 15% of the total budget. However, considering our current estimate, it will be approximately $5,500.
How much does it cost to create a food delivery application? Look at the table below:
Real Estate App Development Cost
Web and mobile development
Testing and quality assurance
A basic and simple solution can be priced from $25,000 to $45,000. However, more complex apps can cost upwards of $70,000.
You also have to remember that there are some non-obvious expenses, such as:
- Infrastructure costs (domain, hosting, data servers)
- App maintenance
- And others
The total cost of food waste management mobile app development will vary depending on the project’s complexity.
The more complex app you want to create, the more talents and technologies you need. Yet, you may still get a price estimation of the custom food waste management application before you start to work on it. Feel free to contact us, and we will provide you with an estimate of an app development and explain what is included in the development cost.
Food waste management is an up-and-coming area. It helps improve the planet's ecological situation, providing benefits for consumers and local businesses. This article covers the leading food waste management business models, application examples, key features, technology stack, and development costs.
And if you are now thinking about choosing a developer company, pay attention to the experienced Softermii team. We have successfully developed many food industry apps, so we understand the target audience well and have all the necessary technical skills.
Contact us to learn more about the waste food delivery app development.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to develop a waste food delivery app and make it successful?
You must carefully develop a business plan, conduct quality market research with SWOT analysis, invest time and resources into UI/UX design, and think about your marketing strategy.
How long will it take to develop a waste food delivery app?
The development time depends on many factors, including app functionality and design complexity. It takes a minimum of six months to create an MVP product.
How to build a food waste app?
Your crucial task is to find the right vendor. To do this, check the company's expertise, read reviews on Clutch and GoodFirms, and learn more about its business processes.
Why should you develop your food waste application?
In addition to moral satisfaction from an environmental initiative, you will receive a commission from all transactions and the ability to show ads.
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