Five start-ups that are working to reduce food waste

August 13, 2020

The food industry takes a major toll on the environment, from the staggering amount of resources required in production and distribution, to the CO2 emissions from waste in landfills. It is estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted along the value chain worldwide. The biggest cause of this waste is overproduction, non-compliance with industry standards and best-before dates. Take a look at some of the start-ups leading the way to reduce food waste.

Too Good to Go

Too Good To Go connects businesses with surplus food at the end of the day to customers who purchase the surplus food at a discount. The company started in June 2016 and in the UK have had nearly 2 million people try their app across over 2000 partner stores. They calculate to have saved nearly 24 million meals from being wasted globally, offsetting nearly 60,000 tonnes of CO2. Their goal is to create a change in culture against food waste.


Winnow has developed smart kitchen tech to help kitchens reduce food waste. The company uses computer vision to help chefs easily pinpoint waste and cut costs. The system takes photos of food that is thrown away, training its algorithm to recognize what has been thrown in the bin. By improving the accuracy of measuring food waste, the startup says kitchens using Winnow tend to see a 40-70% reduction in food waste within 6-12 months. This drives a food cost savings between 2-8%. The company has recently raised $20 million in debt and equity financing.


Matsmart is a Swedish company that specializes in food waste reduction. The company, which currently operates in Sweden and Finland, purchases surplus production and overstock from companies like Unilever and Nestle and sells to consumers at discounted rates. This surplus food would otherwise have been thrown away, due to changes in branding, packaging, seasonality or short expiration dates.The company recently raised a €17 million dollar investment from LeadX Capital Partners and intends to expand its operations in Germany and across Europe.


OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. Nearly 1.5 million people have joined the Olio app to date across 49 countries.

Karma App

Karma is a Swedish startup founded in Stockholm, November 2016. The app connects surplus food from restaurants, cafes and grocery stores to consumers for a lower price. As a result, users eat great food for less and businesses receive an additional revenue stream — all while reducing food waste. Karma has reached 150 Swedish cities, working with 2000 retailers, and attracting 500,000 app users. In February 2018, Karma launched in London and one year later, setup a third market in Paris. To date, 295 tonnes food has been rescued with the app.