Spoiler Alert isn’t about movies. It’s a new app that wants to lessen the waste that comes from throwing away food. Not many people realize that food waste is an enormous problem that is as huge as the nation’s non-degradable garbage problem. This is why a startup company called Spoiler Alert is attempting to pitch in to tackle this problem by getting people and companies to donate or sell surplus food inventory rather than just throwing them away to end up in landfills. Spoiler Alert was founded by MIT graduates Ricky Ashenfelter and Emily Malina. It is based in Cambridge, Mass. The app is a B2B marketplace concept that is now up and running in the New England region. So far, 8 organizations are participating, and thus, nearly 10,000 pounds of food were donated. The iOS app works so fast that some processing claims took as little as 3 minutes. By next year it is hoped that Android and web versions of the app will be released.
The new company is hoping to recruit more businesses and companies, seeking more funding, and is targeting expansion to the whole United States. On average, around one-third of food inventory in the U.S. each year goes to waste. That’s around 20 pounds per person wasted, all while nearly 50 million Americans don’t have regular access to affordable food. This goes to show that hunger isn’t just a problem in poor countries but can also hit even an industrial nation like the U.S. Each year tons of food end up rotting in landfills because throwing away surplus inventory is cheaper in the light of making fast decisions on what to do with food that is about to expire. Businesses, companies, and groceries often simply just don’t know what to do or how to donate surplus food. The Spoiler Alert App is meant to simplify the process of getting rid of surplus food and removing the obstacles to food donation. It connects retailers, producers, and other companies to nearby non-profit organizations for donation.
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For products that are no longer edible, the app connects to companies that make organic fertilizers and animal feeds. Notifications are sent out as soon as an inventory is about to expire or spoil and everything is recorded in the app. It also prepares donors for possible tax deductions for their donations. Thus, Spoiler Alert also encourages companies to donate because this saves them money through the tax deductions. It also encourages them to reduce the amount of food they throw away by making more value purchases and planning better with food preparations. The makers of Spoiler Alert are hoping that they can make a difference by at least decreasing the amount of food wasted each year that just end up in landfills. And this can also be dangerous considering that these tons of thrown away food will decompose into methane, which can be devastating to the environment. The makers were also encouraged by laws enacted by France that penalizes anyone throwing away food that is still edible with hefty fines or even jail time.