Kitche is a new app created to save money and reduce food waste at home designed by local Brixton resident Alex Vlassopulos.
The project started as a hobby outside of Alex’s day job working at Google, he quickly partnered with a local app developer and the pair looked for backers. “What started as a hobby quickly became a mission” says Alex.
Alex explains: “It really is a local idea, I was walking in Dulwich Park five and a half years ago with friends who were moaning about how much food they waste because they forget what they have in the fridge and cupboard. Or because they are not inspired to cook things with the ingredients they have left.”
The group assumed there would be an app for that, as there is an app for everything these days, but nothing was available and so the idea for Kitche began.
WRAP estimated in their Food surplus and waste in the UK – key facts document from January 2020, that annual food waste arising within UK households, hospitality & food service (HaFS), food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors in 2018 at around 9.5 million tonnes, 70% of which was intended to be consumed by people (30% being the ‘inedible parts’). This had a value of over £19 billion a year, and would be associated with more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over 85% (by weight) of this wasted food arises in households and food manufacture.
Alex continues: “These are real problems. The horrific stats around food waste include a cost of trillions of dollars globally. If food waste were a country it would have the third biggest greenhouse emissions after the U.S.A and China; there is also the water consumption; food waste is the number one environmental issue on the planet.”
Kitche launched on Android last year and on Apple this summer. The app is simple to use: once you have done your weekly shop you scan your receipt, the app loads in your shopping and reminds you when the products are going out of life. You can also search 1000s of recipes to help inspire you, making sure you use everything you buy and save money in the process.
“First you snap a picture of your receipt, the app will bring in all the products and dates, Kitche will split your produce into categories (dairy, meat, veg, etc.) using a huge food database and set up reminder dates assigned to each product, creating a digital version of your kitchen” explains Alex.
The idea is to create widespread behavioural change. There is also the function in the app to record items you have thrown away, allowing you to monitor both the food and money wasted. One set of earlier users were a student household who didn’t think they wasted food, after using the app they were shocked at the money they had wasted. The average UK family tosses about £70 of food per month.
In such a short period of time the app is having a big impact on users, Alex explains, “We had a 52 year old mum of four who has been using Kitche since we launched and she is now zero waste!”
The pair are now looking to increase the reach of Kitche by partnering with councils, supermarkets and businesses to expand the fight against food waste.