In the digital delirium of the present day, our smartphones stay pretty much glued to the palms of our hands, day in, day out. They organise, entertain and inform us endlessly, but – as we’ve just discovered – they can also be used to inspire and rally us all in the fight for better food and farming. We’re talking about a new breed of app that’s putting sustainable food first.
Our gadgets feed us breaking news, convert to TVs, cameras and music players at the tap of a screen, and allow us to connect with friends, buy goods and even monitor our health – whenever we want, wherever on the planet we happen to be. They’re all-powerful, omnipresent and appear to meet our every need.
It’s little wonder, then, that these incredible inventions are now being used to help us to better our sustainability credentials – a much more meaningful offering than the filtered selfies and one-click shopping for which they’re more famously known. In fact, as we’ve discussed before, this cause-related trend is developing across all parts of the media. And, for the discerning foodie, it can only be good news.
Technology can help bridge the gap between pasture and plate.
Danielle Gould, a New York-based food and tech expert
Whether you want to know the provenance of your fish, meat and dairy, reduce food waste, grow your own veg, or find and share info on the best ethical eateries, there’s a whole world of apps out there devoted entirely to eating better. Here are our Top 5 picks, serving the relevant info right to your table...
Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and Internet colossus Google have come together to conceive this cutting-edge anti-food-waste tool. With the average UK household now throwing away about £60-worth of food each month, the need to use up leftovers has never been greater. In this practical app, you input a random mix of ingredients – either by typing or speaking – and receive immediate recipe inspiration. A money- and food-savings leader board creates a compellingly competitive edge. Free; web app
Coming at the food-waste conundrum from an entirely different angle, this easy-to-use student-designed gizmo connects the hungry and cash-poor with locals who have an excess of good food they don’t want to waste. Its main functions are to advertise leftovers, find local leftover hotspots and arrange the delivery and collection of the dishes in question. The result? Lots of lovely leftovers in satisfied tummies instead of the trash. It may have started out as a joke in a college dorm, but this clever concept allows you to eat well, make friends and save money (and the planet!). What could be better? Free; Android and iOS
The team behind this fun, interactive app believes that the key to eating better is through great communication – with friends and family, local chefs, farmers and restaurateurs, and anyone else who loves food. A self-dubbed "community of eaters who want to make it easier for everyone to eat better", Foodstand is all about sharing and tagging stories, recipes, tips and images. What better way to know that the steak you’re buying came from a grass-fed cow, or that the eggs you’re tucking into came from happy hens? Free; iOS
MSC Seafood Finder
The Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainable-seafood app allows shoppers to find and identify products that have come from well-managed fisheries. Clever functionality allows you to search 10,000-plus products by a number of filters, including country, brand, retailer, species and product type (canned, fresh, frozen, smoked, and so on). The app’s up-to-date information includes images, links and important facts and stats. Free; Android and iOS
A spin-off product from Channel 4’s much-loved River Cottage series, GPS-enabled Landshare connects eager growers with people who have available land to share. The innovative idea builds on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s groundbreaking 60,000-strong network of growers, landowners and gardening helpers of the same name. Be sure to make the most of the tips and advice offered in this buzzing, green-fingered community. Free; iOS
So there you have it – a handful of awesome apps to feed our pixel obsession and make life a little bit easier for all of us foodies with a conscience.
It’s massively rewarding and exciting that technology is being used to improve the food that we eat and the systems that produce it – for the benefit of animals, people and planet.
As Danielle Gould, a New York-based food and tech expert, recently said: "Technology can help bridge the gap between pasture and plate". It certainly can.
Let's reconnect people with their food!
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