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Each year in the EU 88m tonnes of food goes to waste. That’s the equivalent of 235 Empire State Buildings being dumped in the garbage… every year.

In 2020, the EU developed a food waste reduction strategy which aims to halve retail and consumer waste by 2030.

Over the past few years startups have rolled up their sleeves and got in on the action. There are now dozens of apps in Europe which connect people and businesses with leftover food to consumers keen to eat it up, and some have clocked up millions of downloads.

But which food waste app has received the most attention from consumers? To find out, we asked App Radar to compare app downloads on the Google Play Store, covering March 2021 to February 2022.

Here are the top three food waste apps.

Too Good To Go — 9.8m downloads

Copenhagen-based Too Good To Go towered above its competitors, and remains the most downloaded food waste app of all time with 28.2m* total downloads.

35% of those downloads came in the past 12 months — although the startup launched in 2015, one of the first players in the space.

Too Good To Go is also the best-funded European food waste startup to date. It’s raised $75.3m in total and has the largest headcount of any food waste app, with over 1,200 employees.

Last year, the startup launched a campaign to educate consumers to use their senses instead of following best before date labels — and has signed over 40 big brands to support it including Nestlé, Danone and PepsiCo.

OLIO — 2.5m downloads

In second place is the UK-based food sharing app OLIO, which connects neighbours with one another to share surplus food and other goods that might otherwise be thrown away.

It’s seen a two-fold increase in overall downloads in the past year. According to its website, it’s helped share over 34m portions of food since it launched in 2016, and according to the UN it’s saved at least 409 tonnes of CO2.

Investors have poured $51.2m into OLIO, with its latest injection of capital being its €43m Series B round last September. It has also landed deals with retailers like Pret A Manger, Tesco and Costa Coffee.  

Phenix — 1.3m downloads

In third place — and taking the title of most downloaded B2B food waste app — is French startup Phenix. It connects businesses with merchants that have surplus food. It counts 2.5m* lifetime downloads, and more than half of its downloads have come in the past year.

According to the company, it saves 120k meals per day and has recovered 44m meals in Europe since launching in 2014.

Phenix, alongside Too Good To Go, was named by investors as one of the top startups tackling the global waste problem.

How are other players faring?

  • Frigomagic — France (111k), offers everyday recipes based on products available in users’ kitchens.
  • Res Q — Finland (103k), allows consumers to rescue food at risk of going to waste from restaurants and bakeries.
  • Karma — Sweden (101k), connects restaurants, cafes and grocery stores with users eager to purchase unsold food at a lower price.
  • Throw No More — Norway (22k), tells consumers when food that otherwise would have gone to waste is being discounted in store.
  • YourLocal — Denmark (6.2k), offers high quality surplus food from local retailers at 50-70% off.
  • Kitche — UK (5.8k), an app designed for home food-waste reduction and cost-saving in the home kitchen.
  • FoodCloud — Ireland (1.3k), links businesses with surplus food with local charities and community groups who need it using a customised tech platform.

*The data on all time downloads is from March 9

Connor Bilboe is Sifted’s editorial assistant. He tweets from @connorbilboe and is the coauthor of our sustainability-focused newsletter, Sustain. You can sign up here.

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