According to the USDA, in 2020, nearly 5.1 million U.S households were considered to be food insecure, that is to say, they lacked the adequate access to healthy food items that others may take for granted. In addition, the EPA found that a year’s worth of food waste in the U.S uses up enough water and energy to supply 50 million homes, and produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 42 coal-fired power plants. However, EPA statistics show that more than a third of all food produced in the U.S is wasted.
According to National Geographic, 80% of this food waste originates in “homes and consumer-facing businesses”. People may not know off the top of their head where to donate food to food banks, when their food is good to donate, and they may not be able to connect the dots between the food scraped off their own plate and the environmental impact. Meally aims to combat the awareness issue, and get more people to donate food to food banks near them.
The purpose of Meally is to provide ordinary people with the information they need to donate more food that would have been wasted. Given a picture of the food in question, Meally would identify which food items were spoiled and which were safe to donate, the carbon footprint that would be left by throwing away the food items, and the food banks near the user where they could donate their food. As it stands now, the unknowns surrounding food donation, such as when to donate foods and where, are large obstacles preventing many consumers from donating much needed foods.This app would help ordinary shoppers and small shop owners by eliminating many of these unknowns and inconveniences, easing the donation process and perhaps incentivizing more donations as a result.
Figure-1 above demonstrates the flow of my app. In the coming posts, I will go more into detail about the technologies and techniques I used to create this.