Americans throw away between 30 and 40% of the food produced in the U.S.
The search for solutions led to the creation of Too Good To Go. It's an app that allows restaurants to sell food they would otherwise throw away.
"When you look at a problem that's that big and that pervasive, we really wanted to find a solution that's super simple, super accessible, and that's really positive," said Claire Oliverson with Too Good To Go.
Each day, restaurants create surprise bags using food that they'd normally throw out. For a pizza place, it might be a couple of slices. At a bagel shop, customers might get a half dozen day-old bagels.
The bags sell on the Too Good To Go app at a discount.
"No one wants to go out and look in the garbage and see a whole wheat bread thrown out, a baguette thrown out, salads thrown out," said Michael Stansfield, the director of catering at New York City bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien. "That was, for us, very exciting because we actually get our product out to the customer instead of having it sit in a garbage can."
Through its partnership with Too Good To Go, Stansfield says Le Pain Quotidien has saved almost 4,000 meals in the last 30 days.
"Especially during the pandemic, there's a lot of people who couldn't afford to purchase a full-priced item or doesn't have an opportunity every day to do that," Stansfield said. "For us, we wanted to be able to give back to the community in a way that we're saving meals, but we're also giving them a discounted price so that they can enjoy something that they would never have had."
Some restaurants use the app in addition to donating food.
The app is available now in the 12 cities across the U.S. There are plans in the works to expand access by the end of the year.