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Flashfood app will let you buy surplus food at a discount

Last Updated Jun 24, 2016 at 5:12 pm EDT

A new app could not only lower your grocery bill, but also save thousands of pounds of food from heading to landfills.

Flashfood is a new service coming to Toronto that, according to its website, will offer consumers “high-quality food at massively discounted prices before the food is discarded.”

“Flashfood is essentially the discount food rack on your cellphone and it’s a means for grocery stores, restaurants, food vendors, being able to resell their surplus food before they’re going to throw it out,” founder and CEO Josh Domingues explained.

After downloading the app, users can check out a “flashsale” through their phone. When they see something they like, they can purchase the food through the app and then pick up their order the same day.

“Think about how much food you throw out on an annual basis. There’s a cost to that for you. You’re throwing money into the garbage. So why not not buy in bulk and buy a little bit more efficiently and then take advantage of opportunities in your geographic location where you can buy food cheap?” Domingues said.

Although they are still working out the logistics of where customers will pick up their food, Domingues said they’re considering a few options, including using customer service desks in grocery stores or setting up a separate Flashfood booth.

“The experience from a user’s perspective has to be flawless. It has to be very user friendly and that’s what we’re spending a lot of our focus on right now,” he said.

This isn’t the only company concerned about the amount of food that’s ending up in landfills.

This week, the city’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee passed, with amendments, a long term waste management strategy that would push the city toward a zero waste strategy when it comes to organics.

The motion was based on a report by the Toronto Environmental Alliance, which claimed almost 40 per cent of the half a million tonnes of residential garbage sent to landfills by the city every year is organic material that could be composted in the Green Bin.

The biggest culprits for this are businesses, retailers and industries, according to the report.

Domingues said the response from the grocery stores he’s approached has been positive.

“I’ve been pretty happy with it and impressed with the way that the individuals I’ve spoken to have responded to the opportunity because we’re bringing technology into these well established, older companies that are open to what’s happening in the world — especially with millennials and how often we’re on our phones,” he said.

Flashfood is hoping to have a beta, soft launch ready for August — September 1 at the latest — in Toronto and it already has over 2,000 people signed up from across the city and beyond.

“We’ve also got people signed up internationally,” Domingues said. “People have signed up from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Italy, the States, India, Brazil … It’s caught on.”

He knows it sounds crazy, but he said the end goal of the company is to end hunger.

“Our goal is to build this company as a means to be able to come up with a solution internationally that could redistribute the food that is being thrown out to feed the people that are hungry,” he explained.

“It sounds nuts, it sounds like a big goal, but we’re committed to it and that’s what’s driving us and that’s what’s driving Torontonians to sign up and to be willing to open their minds to this model and to be willing to care less if there’s a bruise on an apple or not.”