How artificial intelligence can solve food waste

Not everyone's kitchen is the same, and different food storage environments effect shelf life. EatBy App addresses this problem by learning as it's used over time.

Kitchen management and grocery list app, EatBy App, now uses artificial intelligence to reduce domestic food waste.

The latest release of the app automatically suggests how long fruit, vegetables, and frozen items will stay fresh, and then reminds users to finish these items off before they go bad. But the clever bit, according to the developers, is that the app learns the storage habits of individual users.

The concept of “sell by” and “use by” dates can be confusing for the average consumer. Most consumers mistakenly believe that expiration dates on food indicate how safe the food is to consume, when these dates actually aren’t related to the risk of food poisoning or food-borne illness.

The dates are mainly for manufacturers to convey when the product is at its freshest. The food does not expire in the sense of becoming dangerous to consume.

According to research from Harvard Law School, words like “use by” and “sell by” tend to confuse consumers to the point that more than 90 per cent of Americans throw out food prematurely. A further 40 per cent of the US food supply is thrown out unused every year.

While there aren’t hard statistics for the UK, food waste in general is a growing cause for concern. Over £12.5 billion worth of edible food per year, at a cost of £700 to the average family, goes straight to landfills.

“Not everyone’s kitchen is the same, and different food storage environments effect shelf life. EatBy App addresses this problem by learning as it’s used over time,” says Steffan Lewis, co-founder of EatBy App.

Supermarkets have suffered the brunt of bad publicity, being blamed for massive quantities of unsold food being wasted. Many supermarkets and grocery stores have since made big changes that reduce food waste in the supply chain, according to Lewis. The EatBy developers believe change has to happen in our homes. In some cases households unnecessarily waste up to 30 per cent of their food simply from poor kitchen management.  There are a number of apps designed to share unwanted food, but EatBy App prevents the accumulation of unwanted food in the first place.

Designers at EatBy say they are now developing the app to make users aware of the benefits of freezing food to further reduce food waste. But the latest big news is that EatBy is developing Smart Kitchen hardware. “The products we’re working on will make kitchen management simple – with a big focus on beautiful design and developing AI driven ‘invisible technology’ that works in the background with minimal user effort required,” Lewis explained.

“We’re not interested in creating futuristic, sterile kitchens. We are interested in encouraging everyone to eat delicious fresh food, reduce food waste and save money.”

Find out more: EatBy App

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.