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Did it ever occur to you that why even after producing surplus food, India cannot provide food security to all its citizens? Well, you don’t have to look that far, you can start by looking at your own plate and know that when you waste a portion of food, somebody somewhere goes to bed empty stomach. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, 190.7 million people are undernourished in India.

In this time of need, a revolutionary application developed by an IT professional is helping India become a zero waste country. This app makes you aware of the food wastage and finds innovative ways to make sure that your excess food is put to good use, by sharing them with the needy.

Life Beyond Numbers spoke to Sanjeev Neve (45), the founder and executive director of Samvad Social Technologies, who says, “food that we waste is coming back to us, so why don’t we do something about it.”

food dosti Sanjeev Neve

Sanjeev Neve

“I understand the intensity of the food crisis in India because I am into a bit of farming as well. So, I am familiar with the amount of time, energy and money are invested there. It takes a lot of hard work to produce that food and some of us are fortunate enough to find that on our plate. So why to waste?“ he asks.

Food Dosti was launched last year on November 21 and is the brainchild of Sanjeev. Food Dosti is based on the belief – “Together, We Can.” By connecting restaurants to customers and non-profit organizations and NGOs, food wastage can be minimized and will prove to be useful to all the parties involved. Further, the restaurants or eateries won’t have to go through the process of recycling, which will save time, energy and money and therefore they can have maximum production without any food wastage, and this is exactly what this initiative is all about.

Transform your would-be throwaways into a healthy meal

To understand the problems of fellow citizens in a better manner, Sanjeev has also come forward with another initiative- My Indian Dream that encourages people to come forward and share their thoughts. “Also, there is a section in the website, where you will come across “Tip Of The Day” where we talk about the leftover food items at your home and how you can utilize them and make something new. This will help you to extend the life of your meal,” says Sanjeev.

The 2017 Global Hunger Index mentioned in their report that India ranks 100 out of 119 countries on an index that weighs the abilities of countries to provide food security for their citizens.

These platforms work as a remedy to sensitize people about food wastage. Sanjeev says, “In India, 40% of the food gets wasted from restaurants and food shops. If we can stop that then, the food prices and the production cost will go down, and we can solve food inflation.”

Previously, Food Dosti was functioning from Pune but now Sanjeev and his team are planning to implement it pan India. “We are planning to relaunch it this year on Ganesh Chaturthi, we have made few changes in the initiative so that we can cater to the food crisis in a better manner,” he says.

An ex-mayor of Nagpur was so impressed with his initiative that he wanted Sanjeev to implement it in their state as well. Sanjeev says, he is planning to launch this initiative across India and will start with metropolitan cities, so that he can reduce the waste management issues there.

The interesting part is through this app, you will receive cash back and you can earn points whenever you eat in the restaurants that are connected to this app. “This is how it works-  You get an option to order half a portion if you are low on appetite but pay in full. For that, Food Dosti points will be added to your account. So, the next time you come back, you can order another half when you redeem your points. The idea is to reward a customer every time when he/she doesn’t waste food,” he said.

The organization is also planning to launch a book which will comprise of 400-500 recipes where interesting tips will be shared to utilize your leftover food and make it into something new. “Through our initiative, we save food of 15-20 people every day and the wastage has reduced remarkably,” adds Sanjeev.

Today, more than 150 restaurants have joined the initiative and working to counter the food crisis in India. Earlier, we have also seen how this 18-year-old Bengaluru girl is trying to address the water crisis with her collaborations with various restaurants.

According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 report, India is home to 190.7 million of them—a 14.5% prevalence of hunger vis-a-vis its total population.

Be thankful for the food you have on your plate, donate your meal and soon we will have a new India where no one will sleep on an empty stomach.

Be a Food Waste Warrior and change your habits for the better!