image via Hy-vee.com

I know there’s supposed to be three of something before it becomes a trend. But there are now two startups using almost the exact same combination of apps and special fridges in grocery stores to sell food nearing its expiration date at a discount, and I don’t think we have to wait for a third.

Supermarket News reports that grocer Hy-Vee has started a pilot program with Toronto-based company Flashfood in which Hy-Vee will sell food nearing its expiration date at a discounted rate via in-store fridges. From the story:

To use Flashfood, customers download the free app (available in iOS and Android versions) and then start shopping deals on items such as meat, dairy, bread and snacks. Purchases are then made directly from their smartphone and picked up at any time from the Flashfood Zone shelves or refrigerators in the store.

If that sounds familiar, thank you for being an avid reader of The Spoon! Back in November I wrote about a partnership between Swedish appliance giant, Electrolux and food waste fighting startup (and fellow Swedes) Karma to sell food nearing its expiration date at a discounted rate. From that story:

The fridge acts as a locker/waystation where unsold food that would otherwise be thrown away is held. Karma users can purchase that food through the Karma app, then pick it up from the new smart fridge in the store. The user unlocks the fridge by displaying a QR code and shows the product at checkout to complete the transaction.

According to the press announcement, the Hy-Vee/Flashfood program is currently running in three stores in Wisconsin. The Electrolux/Karma fridge was testing in Stockholm, Sweden.

Just to be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of stealing anyone’s idea (Wasteless is another company working with grocery stores for dynamic pricing). The point is, if two companies on different sides of the globe can bring together fighting food waste with app and discounts, let’s hope there is a third, fourth, and even fifth company trying to make it happen as well.

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