Have the French found a way to combat food waste?

Published by Sorcha McManigan on

October 16th, 2017

Despite most of the country hiding away from Hurricane Ophelia today, the 16th of October also marks UN “World Food Day.” In celebration, a new food app is being released to launch major action against food waste.

TheFoodLife app is the creation of entrepreneur Marc Simoncini and Arash Derambarsh, who played a key role in fighting for the introduction of the French food waste laws in February 2016.

Mr Derambarsh is urging the rest of Europe to adopt similar laws in the fight against food waste and food poverty.

The app aims to work in collaboration with the current French food waste laws to ensure that supermarkets donate editable food to charities or food banks, instead of destroying it.

The free app uses an interactive map to display nationwide supermarkets in France to give a platform to strengthen links between supermarkets and their chosen associations.

The app will also identify supermarkets that are yet to link up with an organisation, in turn creating an opportunity for an organisation to establish a connection to the supermarket.

For French citizens, the app will provide a quick and easy information hub about where edible unsold food is available.

Food collection will become more accessible for citizens as with one click you can identify the associations the supermarkets are working with.

Under the French food waste law, any citizen can create an association, have it cleared by the government and then work in coordination with a supermarket to take edible, unsold food and distribute it.

Since the passing of this French food waste law, over 5,000 new associations have been established to collect unsold food from supermarkets. As a result, over 10 million meals have been distributed to those in need.

However, Mr Derambarsh told The Green News that “not all supermarkets [have] played along yet”. If a supermarket refuses it can face fines up to €3,750.

“This app will, therefore, accelerate the process by linking up supermarkets to associations and citizens,” he added. “TheFoodLife will allow us to tackle even more food waste in order to defeat hunger in our country, and in yours.”

Mr Derambarsh was also involved in a European petition to end food waste in Europe, set up in collaboration with NGOs such as Action against Hunger and the French Red Cross.

It received almost a million signatures and was delivered to the European Commission and the European Parliament earlier this month.

In Ireland, one in eight people experiences food poverty. According to FoodCloud, Irish consumers and businesses throw out 1m tonnes of food annually. That figure equates to Irish households binning on average €700 a year.

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Sorcha McManigan

Sorcha has a Degree Honours in Journalism with French from DIT and is passionate about social issues and radio production