The rise of food-recovery apps

If you’re looking to save some money on groceries (and who amongst us isn’t), some startups are hoping you’ll drop the coupon clipping in favour of mystery grab bags. 

Let us explain: A new wave of food-recovery apps are partnering with major retailers to sell their damaged or soon-to-expire items at a steep discount to users. As price-conscious shoppers looked for new ways to save, these apps have enjoyed a breakout year.

  • Toronto’s Flashfood, Montréal’s FoodHero, and Denmark’s Too Good to Go have captured hundreds of thousands of users and have big plans to expand.
  • The apps also provide good PR. Since partnering with Flashfood in 2019, Loblaw has saved over 40 million pounds of food from ending up in landfills.

Why it matters: After coming off a year of decades-high food inflation, Canada’s Food Price Report is now forecasting a further 5-7% increase in food prices this year. As grocery bills continue to rise, more Canadians could flock to food-recovery apps out of sheer necessity.  

Yes, but: These apps were created with the goal of reducing food waste in mind, not combatting outrageous grocery bills. Users are now retrofitting them to deal with food inflation, a band-aid solution to systemic problems across the industry stemming from supply chain disruptions, poor weather conditions, and (alleged) corporate greed.