With consumers turning a keen eye to sustainability, new smart pantry products are making it easier to reduce food waste.
40 percent of food in the United States gets thrown out annually, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. That adds up to $165 billion of lost food each year. Globally, the amount of wasted food is slightly lower but still shockingly high; the United Nations estimates that one third of all food is thrown away every year. And consumers are the worst offenders. In the US, consumers toss 27 million tons of food per year – or 43% of all wasted food – according to Refed, a U.S. nonprofit tasked with reducing food waste.
As sustainability becomes mainstream, a host of new technological solutions are hitting the market to help counteract food waste at the consumer level. These products are making it easier than ever to track freshness and use up produce and leftovers before they spoil.
Silo is bringing Alexa into the pantry with their new smart containers, which monitor contents to let you know when your food is about to go bad. “Let’s face it, nobody remembers what they put in the fridge two weeks ago,” said Silo founder and CEO Tal Lapidot. “We know that the only true way to enable you to enjoy your food for longer is if Silo remembers and manages your inventory for you.”
The Silo system takes stock of the kitchen’s contents, tracking what’s purchased and what’s consumed, then sends alerts when food is about to go bad and needs to be used – all managed via an accompanying app and Alexa-powered voice control to turn the kitchen into a fully-fledged smart hub. And, the containers are vacuum-sealed to extend the shelf life of dry goods and produce alike. “Silo’s technology provides everyone with the tools and information they need to reduce their food waste with minimal effort,” said Lapido.
The company took to Kickstarter in the fall of 2018, reaching their goal of $80,000 in just one day and going on to raise over $1.4 million to bring the product to life. Currently, Silo is available for preorder with an estimated ship date of fall 2019.
Ovie Smarterware is another line of smart kitchen storage that wants to “eliminate waste and change the way people eat, save, and shop for food.” Ovie uses connected tags to link your food to the internet of things, track freshness and alert users when produce is about to spoil. The system is visually-driven, with tags that light up as green, yellow or red depending on how much longer it will keep.
“We designed our SmartTags to not only track food for notification purposes, but also to provide visual indicators to anyone in the household,” explained Dave Joseph, co-founder and head of product design. “The color changing light ring was key in making it extremely easy for every member of the household to see what food is important to eat now.”
With the integrated with voice control – Alexa and Google Home – users just have to press the tag and say what they’re storing; Ovie’s algorithms then calculate how long the food will last and program the tag accordingly. The accompanying app goes one step further, suggesting recipes and creative ways to use the food that’s at risk of spoiling. Ovie kits are available for preorder and are scheduled to ship in Spring 2019.
JWT Intelligence’s SONAR™ research shows that 79% of consumers are increasingly conscious of their personal impact on the planet and 92% report that they are trying to live more sustainably. As consumers become more mindful of how their habits impact the environmental, products that reduce unnecessary waste while simplifying daily life are coming into high demand. “People don’t want to waste all of this food – it just happens,” said Ty Thompson, Ovie’s co-founder and CEO. “We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage.”