App offers free meals to food-insecure people

Wednesday, 05 December, 2018

App offers free meals to food-insecure people

A collaboration between food relief organisation Foodbank and an app called Y Waste Food will allow food-insecure people to access more meals left over from quick-serve restaurants, takeaways and cafes.

Y Waste enables the public to buy discounted food left over at the end of the trading day that would otherwise go to waste. Launched in January this year, the app already has over 500 registered outlets nationally, including Sumo Salad, Sushi Hub, Roll’d and Muffin Break.

As well as selling meals at reduced prices, Y Waste approached Foodbank to help local charities to give people seeking food relief the means to access free meals. With the help of a local Foodbank-registered charity, those in need sign up to the app using a special code and select their choice of the meal free of charge. As with other users of the app, they then collect their meal from the food outlet at a certain time by showing their voucher on their smartphone.

According to RMIT research, about 40% of food purchased by restaurants, cafes and other foodservice businesses around Australia ends up in the bin.

“Accessing the short-life prepared food generated by cafes and quick-serve restaurants has always been logistically challenging for the food rescue sector. Y Waste removes the barriers and enables the meals to go straight into the hands of people who need them,” said Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey. “Not only is the food fresh and high quality but there is plenty of variety giving food-insecure people choice and dignity in obtaining the help they need to feed themselves and their families.”

Y Waste Founder Ian Price said: “Ninety per cent of the food outlets we’ve spoken to want to donate meals in their communities and the indication is that over half of all the meals being offered through Y Waste will end up with people who can’t afford to buy them.”

A trial in an inner Sydney suburb has proven Y Waste to be successful at connecting merchants and those in need, and Foodbank suggested it has the potential to provide tens of thousands of meals. ‘Foodbank Meals’ will be rolling out in Australia in 2019.

Image credit: ©

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