More than 100,000 meals in Europe have been saved from the rubbish bin over the past 10 months thanks to an app that allows hungry diners to buy leftover food from restaurants at a fraction of the price, its founders said on Wednesday.
The app, Too Good To Go, was launched in Denmark in October last year and has since expanded to Germany, Switzerland, France, Norway and Britain on the back of a growing global effort to cut food waste.
Between 30 percent and 40 percent of food produced around the world is never eaten because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.
Yet almost 800 million people worldwide go to bed hungry every night, according to U.N. figures.
The problem has become so serious that halving world food waste by 2030 was included as a target in global development goals adopted by world leaders in 2015.
Chris Wilson, co-founder of Too Good To Go UK, said his team hoped to play its part in ending food waste by "putting food into bellies instead of bins", while raising awareness over the issue.
App users can search for meals that restaurants would otherwise throw out and put in an order to collect before closing time.
"It's a win-win concept," Wilson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "From a user prospective it is extremely affordable. From a restaurant point of view ... they are attracting a new market."
In Britain, where the app features a variety of eateries ranging from bakeries to high end Japanese restaurants, prices vary from 2 pounds to 3.80 pounds ($4.95).
Wilson said since its launch, Too Good To Go, a social enterprise, has amassed more than 350,000 users across Europe and is planning to launch in the United States before the end of the year.
($1 = 0.7683 pounds)