Up to 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted—the equivalent of about 133 billion pounds and more than $160 billion each year, according to the USDA. It ends up in landfills rather than feeding those who need it.
David Rodriguez wants to change that. His new app called Food for All allows users to connect with restaurants that are about to toss end-of-day food away and buy that food at a lower cost—up to an 80 percent discount. That way, food is kept out of the dumpster and people can more easily afford a meal.
Rodriguez, CEO and founder of Food for All,is originally from Mexico. His family there worked in the hospitality industry, and from a young age hebecame aware of all the food that restaurants, hotels and other businesses throw away, he said.
“That’s where the idea started from,” he said. “Our mission is to make more social awareness about food waste.”
Rodriguez pitched his idea to the Center for Health and the Global Environment within Harvard's T.H.Chan School of Public Health. An accelerator program there has been advising Rodriguez and his team on their business plan and model while they build an initial prototype.
Food for All is testing its pilot in Boston and then hopes to expand to New York, where there’s a large number of restaurants and, thus, food waste. They also recently launched a Kickstartercampaign to raise money to help get the app off the ground.
“Food for All” isn’t trying to replace donation centers, Rodriguez said. He understands the importance of nonprofit organizations picking up extra food, but they don’t completely fix the food waste issue, he said.
"They don’t come every day. There are logistical expenses involving transportation, paid labor,” he said. “We are not fighting with the nonprofit organizations, we’re just another option for the restaurant.”