The ResQ app helps citizens and restaurants to reduce food waste by rescuing excess food from restaurants at reduced prices.
Each serving of food purchased through ResQ is one serving of less food waste. Food waste is a vast but unnecessary global problem. Resq offers a solution by implementing zero food waste communities. Every day, new ResQ partners and customers join the service.
ResQ works solely on an app; the food app has different stages, find, pay, and collect. The customer uses the app's location to find the portion they want at nearby restaurants and pay for it in the app with a debit card. The food portion must be picked up from the restaurant by the time limit set by the restaurant.
ResQ Club was founded in 2015, in Helsinki, Finland, with the goal of fighting ever-rising food waste. ResQ connects restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores with consumers who value quality and affordable food. Food operators can significantly reduce their food waste with the help of ResQ; on average, 65% of all dishes offered are sold.
For its users, the ResQ app offers affordable, priced food waste. From more than a thousand partners in several places all over Finland. There are 56 food businesses in Lahti that are selling food waste through the app. Simultaneously, restaurants' monetary loss is reduced when there is no need to throw food in the trash.
It's a self-sustaining business model, works on commission and positive cashflow. ResQ saves money, time, and food waste. The portions sold are mostly half-priced. ResQ currently has 20 full-time employees.
Evidence of success
Active in 4 countries, in addition to Finland, the ResQ application has users in Sweden, Germany, and Poland. With internationally 800,000 registered customers and 1700 active partners. In 2019, 3,8 million portions were rescued, with an average of 7/10 meals.
Food waste means a waste of both natural resources and money. Food waste generated by the restaurant industry is 75–85 million kg/year. Around 20% of all food is wasted in Finland.
In Lahti, there are 15 500 downloads of the ResQ app
Growing business in Finland and abroad is different, ResQ had to train the market to realize the potential and demand for the service.
Potential for learning or transfer
Third sector association Hope collaborated in the early fall of 2020 with ResQ to support primarily low-income families in need by donating money and food waste. Due to the corona epidemic, schools were closed throughout Finland. Many young people are at risk of falling into malnutrition, as some school meals are the only proper meal of the day. After the closure of schools, e.g. the need for food aid in families was even greater. At the same time, the livelihoods of countless families are becoming more challenging and faced unprecedented hardship.
In Päijät-Häme, activities related to the distribution of food leftovers from school canteens were tested. In one pilot, the food leftovers were given for free to low-income individuals. In another case, the food leftovers were sold for a small price that included also social activities, e.g. for elderly people.
Combining these activities with digital solutions can lead into a more just implementation of circular economy principles.