retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday on MNB, the FaceTime commentary referenced a BBC story about "Cookisto," an online community of local cooks in Athens who, when they make too much food for that evening's dinner, can post descriptions of what they've made and sell portions to local residents who may want a home-cooked meal but don't have the time, ability or inclination to make it themselves.

According to the story, "the site has attracted 12,000 cooks in Athens in the last few months. What began as a master's degree thesis ... has now become a reality in crisis-stricken Greece, and is due to launch in London next month."

Well, several MNB readers wrote in to tell us about an NPR story about Leftover Swap, described as "a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers.

"The basic gist is this," NPR reports. "Let's say you have some leftover pizza. Snap a photo of it and post it to the app's database. Strangers in the same geographic market then have an option of trading you for the food — or just taking it off your hands."

The founders have no idea of this is a moneymaker. Co-founder Dan Newman says, "We're not gonna make millions. [The environmental concern] is a big part of it. There's a bunch of studies about how much more food we need to produce for the world population by 2050, and how fertilizers are less effective and our current rate of producing food isn't going to suffice. Meanwhile, in the US we produce so much more food than we consume and so much is going to waste."

And this is at least one way to address the issue.

The story notes that there are legal and liability issues, and Newman "says that they won't be allowing users to formally sell their leftovers, rather, individuals can offer to donate for particularly tasty or premium grub. He's also studying up on liability concerns and regulations surrounding individual food sharing.

"The bottom line is, this thing is for real, and it's happening."
KC's View: