Australia’s leading surplus-food-collection organisation OzHarvest is launching a new digital technology solution – the OzHarvest Food App – to tackle Australia’s hunger crisis and prevent food waste in regional communities.

The app is the first of its kind in Australia, the group said, and is part of OzHarvest’s mission to address the national target to halve food waste by 2030, in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Australia produces enough food to feed everyone, yet over four million Australians experience food insecurity each year, with regional areas hit the hardest as food relief is increasingly hard to access, OzHarvest said.

The OzHarvest app works by connecting local businesses and charities to facilitate donations on a regular and ongoing basis. Once a food donor is registered and a charity has been assigned to their store, there are three simple steps: the food donor enters details of surplus food; a local charity receives a notification telling them about the food; the charity collects the food.

OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said innovation has to be part of the solution for halving food waste and addressing the ever-growing hunger crisis that affects so many families each year.

“I am staggered at how many people are still going hungry, whilst good food continually goes to waste. Within one community there can be a business throwing away perfectly edible food and just around the corner a charity is struggling to feed people in need. The OzHarvest Food App will help local communities support each other by connecting the two on a regular basis and make a tangible difference to people’s lives,” Kahn said.

After a successful pilot with 70 Woolworths stores across the country, OzHarvest will be making the new app available to any business, small or large, to help grow its network of food donors across the country. It is expected to support an additional 600 charities by rescuing over 2,000 tonnes of food to provide an extra six million meals in the first year alone.

Sharon Crook, CEO of local charity The Gathering in Humpty Doo near Darwin said before using the app it was very difficult to source a regular supply of fresh food.

“Thanks to the OzHarvest Food App we are now able to deliver a range of fresh and healthy food to the local community, two more remote communities feeding over 30 families and the emergency accommodation in Humpty Doo. We now collect fresh fruit and veg regularly from our local Woolworths, and we even get meat which was a luxury before. It’s made such a big difference to people’s lives and I’ve seen people getting back on their feet, some are even volunteering to give back, it’s sparked a real sense of community.”

Any local businesses with surplus food to donate or registered charities with capacity to collect the food should apply online athttps://www.ozharvest.org/foodapp/ or call 1800 108 006 for more information.

The app is available on all Android and IOS compatible devices.