Blog Food waste apps: Trends and tips going i...

Food waste apps: Trends and tips going into 2023

A recent report from WWF and Tesco estimates that 40%, or 1.2 billion tonnes, of all the food grown in the world goes uneaten. This is roughly larger than the landmass of the entire country of India. The good news? Food waste apps are popping up across the globe to counteract these figures. We explore this growing niche in the food delivery sub-vertical and offer five ways app marketers can grow their food waste apps.

Food waste apps gain traction and diversify

From farms to grocery stores and restaurants, food waste occurs at multiple points in the supply chain. In the U.S. alone, consumers are responsible for half of the country’s food loss and waste. Food waste apps seek to connect consumers to food and meals that would otherwise be relegated to a landfill. These apps are becoming more commonplace, with one in 10 adults in Europe having a food waste app. For a global outlook complete with install and session data, check out Hunger for food delivery apps grows in 2022 against all odds.

Given that the majority of the apps launched just prior to or during the pandemic, the market for food waste apps is relatively new. We examine examples of recent trends and offer related tips for each trend.

Eliminating waste and costs in cooking

SORTED Food’s Sidekick App tackles food waste by helping users cook three meals a day with ingredients and a recipe geared toward zero waste. The app was launched by YouTube stars who rose to fame on their YouTube channel by cultivating a massive online food community. The subscription-based app promises to help users create a delicious meal for less than GBP£4, in under 30 minutes and with no food waste. The founders declare that Sidekick can help users save at least 30% on food bills.

Tip: Cultivating a digital community is a great way to source new users for your app.

Taking a community approach to food waste

OLIO, is a carbon-negative business that provides an app where users can share and receive food. The app’s policy is: “Anything edible, no matter if it’s loose, raw, cooked, opened, unopened etc…if it’s food you would eat, then it’s okay to share on OLIO.” OLIO’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from household consumption by connecting neighbors and businesses to give away their surplus food. The app saw 2.5 million downloads on Android between Q1 2022 and Q2 2022 and has enjoyed watching its listings grow fivefold since 2020. While eliminating food waste remains OLIO’s primary goal, the app has expanded to include non-food household items and items available to borrow.

Tip: Showcase your app name as a verb, like “Olio it”,  to become part of users’ everyday vernacular.

Olio food share app screenshots

Reducing business waste

Launched in 2015, Too Good To Go has been a pioneer in the food waste app scene. The company lets users buy “surprise bags” of food, typically marked between USD$3-$6, that businesses would have otherwise thrown away. For example, users can pick up leftover pastries from a bakery in the afternoon or pizza from a pizzeria late at night. As of 2022, Too Good To Go works with 154,000 businesses, has over 61 million users, and saved over 147 million meals. (Note: The app defines meals as a “surprise bag”). Businesses are incentivized as they’ll still make money on a portion of each sale and receive brand awareness for working to eliminate food waste.

Tip: Think outside the box on how to connect food consumers, sellers, and producers. Consider the logistics, profit, and values for each.

Reaching climate change volunteers

Food Rescue US is an app that allows food donors such as grocers, restaurants, and other food establishments to give their excess food to local social service agencies serving the food insecure. Once a match is made between a food donor and a social service provider, a volunteer “Rescuer” can sign up in-app to pick up the food from the donor and deliver it to the local service agency. Similarly, the non-profit Eat Greater Des Moines launched an app that connects businesses with shelters and churches to ensure food-insecure families get fed.

Tip: Give users an empowering name, e.g., “Rescuer,” to encourage their involvement.

Providing better data for sustainability

Due to inaccuracies in food supply chain data, companies can be off their estimations by + 40%. The startup Crisp launched in 2020 with an app that allows brands to better forecast demand for their products by providing real-time data visualizations. Companies can look at demand drivers such as price sensitivity, seasonality, and previous campaigns to determine how the demand for their products will be impacted. The app positions that it will help reduce “global food waste while increasing profits for its partners”. The hunger for predictive analytics for the supply chain is real, and Crisp raised US$35 million Series B in a quest to expand to a platform.

Tip: Review your target audience to consider if your product might not be B2C but rather B2B.

5 ways to grow your food waste app

1. Create a solid user acquisition strategy

From good app reviews to the right creatives, building a winning user acquisition strategy will determine the success of your app. First, establish your target audience and your competitors to discover what your app will bring to the table that’s missing in the market. Then, decide which channels you wish to advertise on. Here we’d like to point out that even with recent privacy changes, marketers can and should work with SKAdNetwork (SKAN) and aggregated data to measure iOS campaign performance. We talk about the different strategies to do so in our article Why user acquisition managers are more essential than ever post-IDFA. (P.S. Adjust has the most comprehensive iOS solutions on the market, and you can learn about how we’re supporting clients with SKAN 4 here).

For more in-depth insights, check out Part 1 of our guide to Scaling your app to 1M users which covers user acquisition and app store optimization strategies.

2. Ensure user-friendly UI and onboarding

Ensure your app’s interface is one that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate. The demographics of food waste app users are often quite wide—from older business owners to young teens. A pilot study on food waste apps and students revealed that technical and content improvements are needed to convince users to continue using a food waste app in the long term.

A particular pain point that the students mentioned was when an app required too many manual operations of a user. As we recently covered in our recent article: How to build a successful app onboarding to grow your app, monitoring your app’s retention rate across the user journey will help you to identify points of improvement. For example: Have they been onboarded properly, Where are they encountering roadblocks, and at which stage of the journey are they churning? It’s important to continually review your user interface and onboarding to ensure you’re eliminating points of churn to maximize user retention.

3. Show users their impact

Whether it’s meals rescued, carbon emissions reduced, or the average amount of money saved, engage users by showing them how their in-app actions have made a positive impact. As mentioned above, giving users a name that shows their impact can encourage their in-app activity. For example, Too Good To Go calls their users “Waste Warriors”, defined as “someone who is committed to doing their bit to reduce waste.”

4. Build an engaged community

To hit the top of the lists in the app stores and gain business-critical visibility, apps must engage their user base. As most food waste apps center on eliminating food waste, feeding the food insecure, pushing for climate change, or a combination of these, food waste app users typically share similar values.

Creating a community within your app and via social media can bring together users and position your app as a thought leader in the community, which can also serve to recruit new users. While creating a forum and chat functions within your app is more costly upfront in terms of development, hosting these conversations can serve to keep users engaged and in-app longer.

5. Grow faster with Adjust

Adjust is the leading mobile analytics platform trusted by over 100,000 app businesses as a key partner in their app’s growth. We help app marketers and developers get the insights they need to grow. In our analytics solution Datascape, marketers can view all of their marketing data across apps, campaigns, and channels in a single view.

They can also win back time and money with Adjust’s Campaign Automation, optimizing their bids and budgets. Plus, with our Fraud Protection Suite, marketers can proactively protect their campaigns from fraud to spend on ads confidently. If you’d like to learn more about how Adjust can help kickstart your food waste app’s growth, request your personalized demo now.

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