Lucie Basch knew that people threw away food that was perfectly good to eat — bananas with a few black dots on the peel, cans of beans just past the expiration date. But when she started working at Nestlé's factories in the United Kingdom in 2014, she realized the world had a big problem. Much of the food she saw go down the production line — chocolate bars, coffee capsules, and cereals — would never be eaten.
One-third of the food produced worldwide, Basch learned, ends up rotting in fields, the back of people's fridges, or in the dump. It's an urgent problem for the climate: Food waste accounts for as much as 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Decomposing food releases so much methane that if food waste were a country, its emissions would make it the world's third-worst polluter, behind China and the United States.
"I realized that we need to build a better food system," Basch said. "And for me, I really wanted to use technologies to connect people at the right time at the right place to enable them to make a difference."