Singapore: a mobile app for rescuing food

Posted on 02 June 2020.

The city state of Singapore has a real problem with food waste. A group of students in the city decided to tackle it with a novel mobile app. It tells users where to go to rescue leftover food before it goes in the trash.

Food waste is a major concern in Singapore. Because it is so small, the state needs to import nearly 2 million metric tons of food annually - according to the Singapore Environment Council. And according to analyst Deloitte, of that 2 million metric tons, nearly 240,000 metric tons are wasted. That’s the equivalent of about €1.7 billion a year. In view of what is at stake, people are beginning to mobilize against food waste.   Following in the footsteps of the French start-up “Too Good To Go”, launched in 2016 based on buying unsold food from shops at low prices, a group of students from the University of Singapore also decided to fight food waste with the help of a mobile app. Called Makan Rescue, it tells users when food can be collected from a nearby business: restaurant, canteen, hotel, grocery store, etc. Their "mission" is to quickly rescue the food, which is free of charge, so as to avoid it ending up in the trash. Makan Rescue uses a gaming approach to make the fight against waste an interactive real time experience. Almost like an anti-waste Pokémon GO – the hugely successful Nintendo mobile video game launched in 2016.    At any rate Makan Rescue is a first step towards enabling the city's students to do something that improves resource management. For the time being, the app is only available to students attending the majority of Singapore’s universities. But the founders are hoping to roll the app out to anyone, anywhere in the city, and so rescue even more food. 

© Noemie Rosset / Veolia