Food waste is a serious problem not just in the UAE, but also in the entire world.
And with Ramadan season here upon us, the issue will be at the forefront again with lavish iftars expected to happen left and right.
This growing problem is the focal point of a winning app developed by students from various New York University branches.
Dubbed Wakkalni Food Savour, the application bagged first place at the recently concluded NYU Abu Dhabi’s 2019 Annual International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World.
Students Zijie Lu from NYU Shanghai, China and Taiwanese Ray Hsu, Turkish Barkin Simsek and Sion Hau from NYUAD created the app.
Wakkalni Food Savour works by incentivizing grocery stores to minimize food waste through discounting items that would otherwise be thrown away.
It allows stores to share information about their produce and educates consumers about food products.
The winning team was mentored by software engineer from Improbable Keeley Erhardt, founder and CEO of Kandw technologies International Khalid Machchate, and managing partner of #Outliers Poseidon Ho.
Just like in previous years, the NYUAD International Hackathon gathers aspiring programmers from around the world to develop applications for social good across a wide range of sectors such as journalism, health, education, film, music, science and business.
“Our project aims to reduce food waste, which is important as the annual cost of the UAE’s food waste reaches around 13 billion dirhams a year,” said student Sion Hau.
“We thought that this is a big issue that we need to solve as food waste is also a major driver for climate change. Through our project, we hope to curb food waste.”
She added: “I am glad we won this year’s Hackathon, but at the same time, I felt there are so many great ideas that the other teams addressed that are worthy of winning.
“Participants tried to tackle all sorts of social issues, including domestic violence, language processing, and a wide array of different things, and I really am glad we stood out among such competition.”