The FoodImage Smartphone App

FoodImage quantifies food waste in near real-time using images of food products and food waste captured by end users or consumers.

The Need

Americans throw away approximately 80 billion pounds of food per year. However, in a study conducted by The Ohio State University, 53% of respondents indicated that food waste is a problem. A potential method to reduce food waste and its negative affects would be to increase awareness of the problem. In addition, targeting false perceptions about the perceived benefits of throwing away food can be addressed, as well as tracking food waste.

The Technology

Professor Brian Roe from The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University have developed the FoodImage smartphone application. The FoodImage smartphone app uses images of food products and food waste captured by the end-user or customer to evaluate food waste in near real-time. In addition, the app also details why users or consumers discard food and how that food is discarded, based on input from the user. With this information, users can adjust food consumption to limit waste.

Commercial Applications

  • Raise awareness of food waste and propose methods to reduce food waste and save resources


  • Determine types of foods likely to be wasted and effects of packaging and pricing on food waste
  • Identify causes of food waste (i.e. inedible part of the food product, spoiled, looked or smelled bad, expired, surplus due to large quantities, or otherwise unwanted or not needed)
  • Quantify food waste by type of food, source (i.e. food preparation, left-overs, restaurant, refrigerators and pantries, plate waste, and surplus from a buffet or family-style meals), time, location, groups of people, etc.
  • Identify final desitnation of food waste (i.e. compost, garbage, garbage disposal, sent to a landfill, fed to pets, or donated for human consumption)
  • Price entry via automated receipt scanning or end-sure input

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