Seven Good Food Apps

Francesca Nicol picks seven free apps to help simplify your sustainable food journey, and make it easier to enjoy good food, and life.

Small steps towards eating and living more sustainably can be hard to work into daily life in the big smog, where single-use plastics dominate lunch breaks and supermarket superstores overwhelm us with information yet still skip over sources and origins. Here's a selection to get you started.

Refill
As Londoners, we can buy a plastic bottle of water on every corner, but how many of us know the nearest place we can pop in for a refill? The aptly named Refill app is combatting this by mapping free public drinking water fountains and facilities across the city. In combination with a reusable bottle, it can help us reduce the 175 bottles bought on average by every person, every year in London - download this and never be tempted by a little, metro, express, or local, again.

Farmdrop
Working valiantly towards a more sustainable food system, Farmdrop is a food shopping service that acts as a middleman between you, and local farmers and producers. Input your location, see what’s on offer from growers and makers near you from their range of in-season fruit and veg, as well as meat and fish, baked goods, and pantry items, and then select your delivery window. Fresh farm produce and goods will arrive at your door within days. This app is only available on iOS, but there’s also a website for anyone with internet access.

Good Fish Guide
This Marine Conservation Society app sorts every fish available to buy at UK shops, restaurants, and markets, rates them for their sustainability, and explains whether they come from well-managed stocks or farms, and are farmed responsibly. Helping users become more informed seafood consumers, and make more sustainable decisions, it gives plenty of information about each species, but will also give you a quick ‘red yellow or green’ warning for ease of use whilst shopping, making this app an invaluable resource.

Olio
Self-described as ‘the food sharing revolution,’ Olio allows users to post food items, ingredients, and dishes they have going spare, for others in the local area to collect. Exchanges are always free, and you can often find prepared food rescued from chain restaurants by Olio’s ‘food heroes’ up for grabs in the listings. As with many apps dependent on users, this is one that will get better and better with more contributions, so sign up to be part of the revolution.

RHS Grow Your Own
Looking to get started in growing your own food? This app from the RHS could be a great companion, helping you better understand your growing options and breakdown the first barriers. ‘Add’ the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers you’d like to grow, and the app will tell you how to make it happen by generating gardening tasks and prompting you when to complete them. The plant pages are filled with useful information including advice on sowing and harvesting, and common pest and disease problems, creating a great starting point for new growers.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/app

Happy Cow
When you’re done refilling, growing, saving, and cooking, and you do want to eat out, there’s Happy Cow. Listing and mapping vegetarian and vegan restaurants, complete with extensive user reviews and submitted images, you can trust this app to recommend sustainable dining options, and tell you what to expect at the location. Happy Cow includes listings from all over the world, making this a fantastic travel companion that will help you locate short notice sustainable suppers, wherever you might be. There’s a free and a paid version of this app, the latter being ad-free with more features, as well as a web version for browsers.

Too Good To Go
Aiming to reduce commercial kitchen food waste, Too Good To Go encourages restaurants and cafés to share dishes at the end of their working days, for reduced prices. Explore the user-friendly map or search for your favourite eateries to find your food, pay via the app, and pick it up in the allotted time window. They might not all be the most ‘Eely of eateries, but at least you’ll be helping prevent food going to waste.

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Main picture: Public domain