Food Rescue

We work with food retailers to prevent surplus food from going to waste.

Transported by a growing network of volunteers, 412 Food Rescue directly transfers food to nonprofit partners that serve those who are food insecure.

Food Waste

In the United States, up to 40% of food is wasted.

That’s 62 million tons of wasted food while more than 40 million people are food insecure, meaning they don’t know from where their next meal will come.

Food is the #1 material in landfills.

The EPA estimates that almost 25% of landfilled materials is wasted food. When food is lost or wasted, all of the resources that have been used to produce it — water, land, energy — are also wasted. Food that is left to decompose in a landfill emits a harmful stream of greenhouse gases, such as methane. Methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, directly contributing to global climate change.

We waste 50% more food today than we did in the 1970s.

(Sources: EPA, ReFed, USDA, NRDC, FAO)


Hunger + Poverty

1 in 7 people in the United States are hungry.

If we had the ability to save all food that is wasted, we could feed everyone who is hungry four times over.

25% of those in poverty in the U.S. do not have access to cars.

The impact of poor transit access on those who are experiencing food insecurity is crucial to individuals and families reaching enough food for themselves and their loved ones.

Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

(Sources: FEEDING AMERICA, U.S. Department of Transportation)

Surplus food from grocery stores, wholesalers, and other food businesses typically becomes available when it is approaching the end of its useful life – produce is ripe or items are approaching their expiration date. This food needs to be used right away.

That is why traditional, large-scale food transport logistics models do not work for food recovery at the retail level. The smaller quantities of food, unpredictable frequency, and the fact that there is a constraint on when the food should be consumed make it all the more challenging to get good food to those who can use it in an efficient, sustainable way.

Think about it: would it make sense for a giant tractor trailer to rescue a few cases of ripe strawberries that are perfect for a smoothie? We don’t think so.

(Source: ReFed)


Our Solution

412 Food Rescue implements a solution by working with food retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, caterers, universities and other food providers to rescue unsellable but perfectly good food and getting it to nonprofit organizations that serve those who are experiencing food insecurity.

Our mobile app mobilizes volunteers by alerting them when a food is available to rescue. Volunteers (we call them Food Rescue Heroes, because they really are our heroes!) use cars, bikes, and sometimes their own two feet to move food from our donors to our nonprofit partners.

This simple process minimizes logistical challenges presented to food donors to consistently move food, allowing them to reduce waste management costs while maximizing their impact on surrounding communities and the environment. Likewise, our solution creates capacity for many nonprofits that do not always have the resources to recover food that may benefit those they serve.