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New App Helps Non-Profits Access LA's Food Surplus

Raakhee Natha |
November 23, 2014 | 12:59 p.m. PST


The app's cofounders, Etai Evenhaim and Jordan Banafsheha, at a conference with Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group. (Courtesy of Etai Evenhaim and Jordan Banafsheha)
The app's cofounders, Etai Evenhaim and Jordan Banafsheha, at a conference with Stephen A. Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group. (Courtesy of Etai Evenhaim and Jordan Banafsheha)

Bread and Butter is a new application that has nothing to do with restaurant reviews or checking in at the latest eateries - it serves a more noble cause.

It is the invention of Etai Evenhaim, Jordan Banafsheha and Maor Chasen, developed at a hackathon in Tel Aviv in June. Both Evenhaim and Banafsheha are undergraduate students at USC.

The purpose of the app is to allow "food retailers with surplus food inventories to donate food instead of throwing it away at the end of the day,” said Banafsheha.

How does the app work? Simple supply and demand. Local food retailers indicate the types of food they have in excess, allowing non-profits to claim the items. A routing system allows non-profits to pick up the food from multiple locations, as well as map out a convenient route.

Let's say, for example, you walk into a bakery or coffee shop toward the end of day, staff might just hand you a bag full of bagels, muffins and other goodies. That's how these stores get rid of excess food that isn’t sold. It was being handed one of these bags that inspired these young men to create an accessible win-win situation.

“L.A. unfortunately has a great population of homeless people and we really want to curb food insecurity not only in Los Angeles but nationwide,” Evenhaim said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 2010 study found that 31 percent of food available at the retail and individual level was wasted. Another extreme was found in food safety, as the Environmental Protection Agency estimates 50 million Americans do not have enough food. The discovery gave rise to the agency's Food Recovery Challenge and other entrepreneurial solutions like Bread and Butter.

On the app, retailers are immediately processed with a tax receipt, making it easier and more appealing for restaurants to use the app. “We want to constantly incentivize food retailers to donate food and make it a habit instead of throwing away food," said Banafsheha.

So far, the startup has enlisted the help of two student favorites near USC, Bacaro and Nature’s Brew. The plan is to sign up as many USC-affiliated retailers as possible. In his explanation, Evenhaim cited an observation one day at The Coffee Bean. “We saw that much waste and that’s one food retailer at USC, and there’s 40 plus including EVK and some of the other dining halls that waste a lot of food," he explained. "So we’re really trying to get USC on board.”

Eventually, the goal is to get retailers to put up certificates confirming and advertising their contribution to the app.

“We really want to make consumers and people who go to restaurants around the country consciously aware of their decisions of where they’re eating. So we want you to next time think about, is this place donating food and if they are, then try to support them," said Banafsheha.

Reach Contributor Raakhee Natha here.



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