Using technology platforms to connect individual food donors with recipient organizations to reach smaller-scale food donations
Donation matching software provides dynamic, real-time information about food available for donation to enhance the operational efficiency of food recovery partnerships between nonprofits and businesses with smaller-volume batches of edible food, such as cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice settings.
Smaller donations (under 50 pounds) are expensive for food recovery organizations to pick up, leading many to set minimum amounts for donation. Online donation matching software enables local food recovery agencies to identify multiple small pickups at once and design efficient routes to recover food that otherwise would go to waste.
These apps are most effective when they include mechanisms for arranging and covering transportation, which removes a major cost barrier. Some smartphone apps coordinate volunteers for real-time food pickups and distribution.
It is assumed, like other real-time software platforms, many apps and software systems will be developed and piloted, and a handful of the best ones will scale nationwide. Several food recovery organizations that are in the early development of apps are assessing opportunities to share a white-labeled version of their product that food recovery organizations can rebrand as their own.
Feeding America secured a $1.6 million grant from Google’s nonprofit arm to create its Online Marketplace program and support development and training efforts among Feeding America-affiliated entities. The Online Marketplace overcomes logistical constraints by allowing businesses to quickly and efficiently document food donations.
Several nonprofit and for-profit companies that have launched donation matching software platforms over the past few years include Spoiler Alert, Zero Percent, Copia (formerly Feeding Forward), Community Plates, and Food Cowboy.
Expanding temperature-controlled food distribution infrastructure (e.g. refrigeration, warehouses) and labor availability to handle (e.g. process, package) additional food donation...
Providing small-scale transportation infrastructure for local recovery as well as long-haul transport capabilities
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