Saving Household Waste Through One Innovative, Cost-Saving App And Good & Fugly

Saving Household Waste Through One Innovative, Cost-Saving App And Good & Fugly

Jun 11, 2024Jonathan Englert

At Good & Fugly we are always on the lookout for partners that share our vision of supporting better nutrition at lower cost, while also helping to reduce food waste. 

Saveful is an excellent example of this. It’s an application that developed to help people track their food use (and waste) and provide them with tips on how to use vegetables and fruits that are in the fridge. So often food goes to waste simply because we don’t understand what to do with it. Saveful gives you instant recipes and ideas, and all you need to do is input the ingredients that you have available to you. 

This app will really help you get the most out of your Good & Fugly boxes… including the ingredients that you might not use that often. Not sure what to do with your bok choy? Not usually an avocado eater, but there’s one in your fruit box? Saveful to the rescue. 

We sat down with Kim McDonnell, the CEO and Founder of and Saveful, to discuss the underlying causes of food waste in the household, how Saveful helps, and the partnership with Good & Fugly.

Could you start by telling us what was the inspiration behind Saveful, and how did you get to the point where you started partnering with companies like Good & Fugly?

Saveful is something we've been working on for quite some time, and it originated from our work with Thankful for Farmers, which we started in 2019. 

We discovered that globally, 61% of all food waste occurs at home. While efforts are being made at the farm and retail levels, there was little focus on household food waste because it's considered a challenging behaviour to change. 

So, we spent years understanding consumer insights, tapping into research both locally in Australia and internationally. We learned that messages focused on waste or climate change wouldn’t resonate well because people don't believe their small actions can impact such a large issue. Thus, we knew we needed a positive message focused on saving money, time, and food to make a real impact. From that idea, Saveful emerged.

Since launching, have you seen an impact in terms of raising awareness and encouraging better habits around food waste?

Absolutely. The timing was crucial for our launch. Saveful's message of helping Australians save money, time, and food is very relevant now, especially as 80% of Aussie families struggle to put food on the table while 70% of what we throw away is still perfectly edible. Since our launch last November, we’ve gained over 15,000 users. 

We also have incredible support from corporate and industry partners, which helps amplify our message and encourage people to save food at home.

Have you done any analysis on how food is being wasted? Is it mainly about food that looks dodgy, leftovers, or something else?

Yes, we have. The cause of waste varies by household profile and composition. In young families, kids’ changing tastes contribute to waste. Families with older children might face unexpected changes in plans, leading to over-preparation. Older demographics often cook the same quantities they always have, despite needing less because their children have left home. Other reasons include over-shopping, lack of planning, and changing plans due to weather or cravings.

Were people who use your app completely unaware of how much food they wasted before using these tools, or was it more about not knowing how to avoid waste?

Most people don't think they waste much food. Research shows that when people acknowledge wasting food, they usually underestimate it by about 50%. Often, it’s about leftovers not being used or improper storage. Educating people on how much they waste and providing solutions for storage and usage are crucial.

Your app has a lot of information and features. What parts of the app and information are particularly resonating with users?

The meal frameworks are very popular because they start with ingredients people already have, presenting multiple meal options. Users can personalise recipes based on what’s in their kitchen, reducing the need to buy extra items and helping them use up what they have.

This also ties into time-saving, right? Going out, finding recipes, and then actually cooking the meals can be time-consuming.

Exactly. People spend at least 20 minutes daily thinking about what’s for dinner, which many dread. Saveful eliminates that stress by suggesting meals based on available ingredients, saving time and providing inspiration.

You have many partners involved with Saveful. Has this been important for its development and uptake?

Absolutely. We couldn’t offer it for free without corporate support. Food waste is a significant issue, and solving it requires collaboration across industries. Partner support helps fund Saveful and amplify its message through marketing activities.

How did you connect with Good & Fugly?

We were introduced by Chief Nutrition, a Thankful for Farmers partner. Good & Fugly addresses food waste at the farm level by providing subscription boxes with produce that might otherwise be wasted. Saveful complements this by helping consumers use everything in their boxes, reducing waste at home.

People appreciate the variety in these boxes, but sometimes they’re unsure how to use certain items. Recipes are crucial for preventing waste.

Definitely. For example, we were at Brisbane's Green Heart Fair, and many attendees expressed how Saveful could help them use unfamiliar ingredients from food boxes. It’s a practical tool for various demographics.

Do you think Australians are open to experimenting with their meals?

Research shows people usually rotate a few favourite dishes. Saveful helps expand their repertoire with confidence. Users are discovering new meals their families love, even for picky eaters. They’re also becoming more comfortable improvising with what’s left in their fridge.

How knowledgeable are Australians about cooking?

It depends on age and demographics. Younger people, especially those living on their own for the first time, often lack cooking skills and planning know-how. Saveful has been a lifesaver for them, moving them from takeaway to home-cooked meals.

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