The majority of food waste in the U.S. happens at the consumer level, but surprisingly few companies tackling the home food waste problem.

One of the few companies with an actual device aimed at eliminating home food waste is Ovie. The startup creates LED-enabled tags which connect with voice assistants to help you keep track of leftovers in your fridge, so you can make sure to eat things before they go bad and wind up in the trash.

Ovie co-founder Stacie Thompson will be talking about the market potential in solving home food waste at the Smart Kitchen Summit {SKS} in Seattle this October. Check out our Q&A with Thompson below, then head over here to grab your tickets before they’re gone!

Tell us a little bit more about Ovie. What was the impetus for the company?
Ovie is a system that is designed to seamlessly integrate into your kitchen and help you keep track of, and use your foods more effectively. The idea is truly a solution to a very real problem that we all face: that moment when you open the fridge and realize that once again all of that food that you intended to eat is ending up in the garbage because it has gone bad.

The system integrates a visual notification on foods by way of a container, clip and connector that are fitted with a SmartTag. The SmartTag lights green for good, yellow for foods to prioritize and if it’s red, you should probably think twice before consuming it. This allows you to tag and track the foods that matter to you. Once tagged, they’re connected to the app which has a digital “fridge” that allows you to know what you have from anywhere and can give you recipe inspiration based on what you’ve got.

Statistics tell us that 40% of food waste occurs in the home, yet most solutions focus on farms, grocery stores, distributors and restaurants. Why do you think that is?
Food waste is an enormous problem, so I think a lot of companies have focused on those areas because you can see a big impact through the adoption of a relatively limited user group.

When you think about households, that consumer set is really huge — and vastly varied in the way people live and deal with food. So finding a solution that addresses a large portion of this group that will be readily adopted is no small task. Making a meaningful connection with homes is the way that we will see food waste reduced at the household level.

Why did you choose to make Ovie compatible with voice assistants, as opposed to purely controlled through an app?
Is there anything easier than pushing a button and saying “Alexa this is spinach”? Using an app is easy. But we all want what’s easier than easy — we want magic. Voice has become the simplest way for people to outsource tasks in their lives without feeling burdened by tech. That’s especially important in the kitchen where people have their hands busy with a lot of different tasks. We believe Voice is on the way to being the dominant tech interface in the kitchen and makes it a natural way for our tech to fade into the background and be helpful.

What’s next for Ovie?
Wow — such an open-ended question! First and foremost, we’re excited about finally getting this amazing product into people’s hands so that they can start feeling more control of what they have in the fridge and pantry. But Smarterware is just the beginning of many products and partnerships that Ovie has begun and are geared towards helping all of us live more successful, sustainable lives.

Keep an eye out for more speaker Q&A’s as we ramp up to our fifth year of SKS on October 7-8 in Seattle! We hope to see you there.

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