A New Twist on Advertising: How We Can Reduce Food Waste

By Sofia Maietta

Ads—sometimes relevant and other times a nuisance, continually showing up in our day to day lives. Whether we see them on the road or on our computer screens, advertisements are everywhere. Furthermore, advertising technology has developed exponentially in the past decade. Today, companies are able to track which websites we visit and which products we look at in order to generate specific ads that target individual consumers. This type of technology constantly runs just under the surface of our everyday lives, even if we sometimes fail to recognize it. This increasingly sophisticated and intelligent technology has often been used for marketing purposes, which should not be surprising since we live in an age that is dominated by capitalism and financial incentives. However, what many people may not have considered is using this innovative technology for another purpose entirely. Consider using this type of technology to lessen the amount of food waste in the world. Every day, and all over the globe, egregious amounts of leftover food are thrown away at restaurants.

An app called Too Good To Go was recently launched that serves fresh, leftover food, which would otherwise be disposed of, from restaurants. The best part? The food is sold at a fraction of the original cost. The creators of this app have said they are seeking to lessen the amount of food waste in the world and would like for this app to be an educational opportunity instead of solely a method to obtain cheap food. This app would provide significantly better food options for people who cannot normally afford to go out to eat or even purchase quality food at supermarkets. Although the most beneficial thing to do with this leftover food may seem to be donating it to homeless shelters or food pantries, this is simply not feasible, because the leftovers are perishable and cannot sit on the shelves of a food pantry for weeks or months on end. Therefore, Too Good To Go provides the best possible alternative while accomplishing three admirable feats: lessening the amount of food waste, providing better and inexpensive food options for working and middle class people, and stimulating the economy with the extra revenue that restaurants gain from this arrangement.

Innovative ad technology can aid in this process by tracking people who call certain restaurants for take-out, people who dine at certain restaurants, and people who visit restaurants’ websites. With this information, an ad could be generated that would inform the consumer of this app. Because the app is only operating in limited areas of Europe and possibly some areas in the United States, this advertising would help promote Too Good To Go which has not yet gained a large amount of recognition.

Although the potential dangers of this kind of technology include the invasion of privacy, in this specific instance the benefits far outweigh the risks. In addition, the development of this technology should continue to grow as long as it adheres to U.S. law. However, in order to ensure that these private companies are not infringing upon the rights and privacy of American citizens, it is essential that the government implement adequate regulations.

Despite the fact that every new development and invention comes with both advantages and disadvantages, if used in ways that can both assist private companies and better society as a whole, this new type of advertising technology will find a lasting place in our modern world.

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