Students to give consumers food for thought with waste-cutting app
Three students have come up with an idea to reduce food wastage and is now being developed into an international app.
"Everything just happened so quickly ... It's been very surreal‚" said Maryjane Mokgethi‚ 25‚ a Master's student in commerce at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Mokgethi‚ Bridget Fundikwa and Wadzanani Nyabeze‚ both 26 and UCT alumni‚ submitted their proposal to Nestlé after the global company invited presentations on how to reduce food wastage.
Nestlé and other companies launched the initiative as part of the United Nations Global Compact Breakthrough Innovation Challenge (BIC).
Mokgethi‚ Fundikwa and Nyabeze were selected by Nestlé and the company is currently developing their concept into an international app set to be released in the United States in autumn next year before a global release.
Bagzielicous will allow shoppers to scan their receipts after buying groceries‚ analyse their purchases and look up the average lifespan of the perishable items they bought.
The app will then remind shoppers when the perishable items are reaching the end of their shelf life and to cook them before they go to waste. The app will also give you recipes that include the ingredients that might go to waste.
Mokgethi said she has since become more conscious and is holding herself accountable for food she wastes.
"I started‚ in retrospect‚ thinking about how much I usually throw food away as well in my life as a student."
A third of South Africa's food goes to waste‚ according to the "Food Loss and Waste: Facts and Futures Report" by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released in July this year. Similar wastage occurs globally.
South Africa annually produces about 31 million tonnes of food‚ of which about 10 million tonnes‚ or 210kg per person‚ are wasted.
About half the food is lost during the agricultural and harvesting stage‚ a quarter during processing and packaging‚ a fifth during distribution and retail and 5% at consumer level.
"Reducing food waste at the later stages of the supply chain can save three times the energy of cutting waste post-harvest‚" the report said.
"Water and energy costs‚ together with the cost of disposing of the waste‚ means that food wastage comes at a very high price to the South African economy and environment.".