It happens to everybody: You mean well when getting a bunch of fresh of groceries, believing that this time you’re going to eat all the fruits, bread, yogurt, juice, and protein you bought. Sadly, on average, 40 percent of those items will go bad and need to be thrown out, racking up a pretty hefty bill that could have been used on something more useful than wasted food. Thankfully, Amazon hopes to curb food waste by educating proper food storage and more with their Alexa devices.
Of course, there are multiple reasons why food waste is such a big issue. One big cause of food perishing too early is that we don't always store food properly after we purchase it. For example, if bread and fruit are about to go bad, the lifespan can often be lengthened by storing it in the refrigerator. One overripe fruit can spoil others surrounding it quickly, which includes longer-running vegetables. These are the sort of notes Alexa can provide, based on your specific needs.
Alexa devices are now equipped with information from Save The Food, an initiative that’s been kicked off by the Ad Council and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). While corporations and restaurants are responsible for a lot of waste, 43 percent of wasted food falls at the hands of the American household. Just you and a partner could save $750 a year by planning and storing food better, and it’s double that amount annually for a family of four.
Other benefits Alexa can give is determining if a product is still good to consume, and the potential to revive it so it’s OK to consume again. It’s an ability that can solve the often asked question of whether something is good or not. There’s also a way to keep track of all the food in the fridge, cupboards, and pantry so none of it goes forgotten. How often have we gotten those pineapple slices only to see them shoved in the back of the fridge and go bad?
Technology is making us smarter about maintaining our food waste. While there’s times that fruits and vegetables will go bad sooner than we think, more waste is generated by only following dates on packages and throwing them away on the day of or after. Many of these dates are only about the product’s freshness, meaning that they can be good for weeks or even months after the expiration. There’s even markets in Norway that specialize in selling these kinds of foods at a much cheaper price.
This skill can be learned on any Alexa device, such as the Echo, Fire TV, and Tap. Once activated on Amazon, you can simply state, “Alexa, ask Save The Food…” with the question, such as if a vegetable is still good or to help remove freezer burn from a steak. For those that don’t have an Alexa product, much of the information used can be found on this extensive report from the NRDC. There’s also tips available on the Save The Food website.