Food waste is an enormous problem in America, with an estimated 30-40% of the food produced in the country going uneaten each year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. This amounts to a staggering 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food wasted annually. But technology startup Foodiaz aims to make a dent in these shocking statistics through its intelligent meal planning app that helps users creatively repurpose ingredients they already have at home.
“Food waste happens for many reasons – improper storage, buying or cooking too much, misunderstanding date labels, and even just letting things go bad in the fridge,” said Nicholas Nedelisky, CEO of Foodiaz. “We created an app that directly addresses these issues by planning recipes around what users already have on hand.”
The app allows users to log what is currently in their fridge, pantry, and freezer. Foodiaz then suggests recipes that incorporate those ingredients creatively, reducing the likelihood they will be thrown out unused. The technology even adjusts recommendations if a user indicates they need to use up certain items sooner.
“The app caters to a variety of diets, including gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and more,” explained Nedelisky. “Users can specify their dietary needs and Foodiaz will plan recipes accordingly to reduce wasted specialty groceries.”
In addition to intelligent meal planning, Foodiaz also aims to cut waste through enhanced grocery list building and expiration date tracking. The app cross-references users’ on-hand ingredients with selected recipes and only adds missing items needed to their grocery lists. This minimizes over-purchasing. Users can also utilize the expiration date tracking feature.
“By logging the purchase or best-by date for items, Foodiaz reminds you when something is close to expiring,” said Nedelisky. “It then suggests recipes to use up those ingredients before they go bad.”
These features combined result in a powerful tool to reduce the amount of edible food ending up in landfills each year. Foodiaz empowers users to be more mindful about their food purchases and inspires creativity in the kitchen.
The Waste Problem
Food waste has become an epidemic issue in recent years. In addition to the staggering 133 billion pound estimate from the USDA, other research backs up the severity of the situation:
- The average American family throws out 25% of groceries purchased, adding up to $1,600 annually wasted, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Most waste happens in homes rather than farms or retailers. EPA estimates show over 40% of food waste occurs at the consumer level.
- Only about 6% of trashed food is composted. The majority ends up in landfills as the single largest component of municipal solid waste, according to EPA research.
The environmental impact of this waste is profound when considering the resources required to grow, produce, transport, and store food. For example, over 25% of freshwater in the U.S. goes to produce uneaten food each year. And the manpower and energy involved across the supply chain is immense. Reducing household food waste is an incredibly impactful way individuals can personally help combat climate change.
Foodiaz’s Meal Planning Technology
The basis of Foodiaz’s waste-reducing powers lies in its intelligent meal-planning technology. Users start by creating a profile that includes dietary preferences like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and more. The app asks about food allergies to further customize recommendations.
“After setting up a profile, the next step is to take a fridge and pantry inventory,” described Nedelisky. “Users can either manually enter items or scan barcodes to log what they currently have on hand.”
Foodiaz’s algorithm cross-references inventory items against recipes in its extensive database. It identifies options that creatively incorporate what users already have, reducing the temptation to toss aging ingredients.
“Traditional meal planning apps operate on a weekly basis with set grocery lists,” explained Nedelisky. “Our technology is dynamic – generating daily suggestions based on what users need to use up while avoiding over-purchasing.”
For example, if a user logs chicken, broccoli, rice, and not much else needed to be used up, Foodiaz will plan recipes accordingly. It might suggest a simple chicken stir fry over rice with broccoli as a side vegetable. But if the user instead indicates they have chicken, broccoli, rice, and aging bell peppers and zucchini, Foodiaz will get more creative. It may propose something like chicken fajitas with sauteed bell peppers and onions or chicken fried rice with broccoli and zucchini.
“Our technology enables endless recipe customization to accommodate what users have on hand while satisfying their dietary needs and tastes,” stated Nedelisky.
Keeping Track of Food Inventory
In addition to intelligent and dynamic meal planning, Foodiaz also aims to reduce waste through advanced grocery list building and expiration date tracking features.
The app cross-references selected recipes with current kitchen inventory to build a grocery list customized to what users need to purchase specifically for those meals. This minimizes the likelihood of over-purchasing food that could end up wasted.
“Our app also allows users to keep tabs on the expiration or purchase dates of items,” said Nedelisky. “This enables better planning recipes around foods that need to be used up soon.”
Users can enter dates manually when adding grocery items to their inventory within Foodiaz. For convenience, they can also utilize their phone’s camera to scan the barcode on an item. Foodiaz will automatically pull the expiration date if the manufacturer provides one.
The app sends notifications when groceries are nearing expiration. From there, users can indicate if they already used up the item or instruct the app to prioritize planning recipes that incorporate the ingredient.
“By keeping track of dates, planning meals around expirations, and only buying what you need for selected recipes, Foodiaz empowers users to significantly cut down on waste,” concluded Nedelisky.
Embracing the Food Waste Challenge
Reducing waste requires consumers to be more thoughtful about food purchases and storage. But armed with the right tools like intelligent meal planning, grocery list building, and expiration date tracking, the task becomes far more manageable.
“At Foodiaz, we’re embracing the food waste challenge head-on,” said Nedelisky. “Our technology aims to make a real environmental impact through empowering everyday consumers to cut their personal waste.”
The app is currently available on iOS and Android. To learn more about how Foodiaz can help you reduce food waste in your home, visit Foodiaz.com.