An international food waste reduction app that has been helping fight the climate crisis and bring down household food bills for the past two years is now helping families reduce their food waste and save money during the COVID-19 crisis.
Based in Sofia, Bulgaria, the CozZo app incorporates shopping lists, refrigerator and pantry inventories, and recipes to help users track the items they have at home and reduce food waste by buying only what they need.
CozZo was born out of a personal pain point. For years, the app’s founder, software developer Ivo Dimitrov, tried to organize his own family kitchen in a systematic way.
Dimitrov went from introducing fridge boards to sticky notes to voice call coordination to shopping list messages to family members to finally trying out available mobile apps. But nothing really worked, so he undertook in-depth research on kitchen management.
Switching his path, Dimitrov devoted his time to developing this high-tech solution for household food management and food waste reduction.
The first version of CozZo was released in May 2017 on the UK app store. Version 3.0 was released in November and now is available for iOS devices in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Waste360 recently sat down with Dimitrov to discuss the app and how it is helping during the COVID-19 crisis.
Waste360: What is the CozZo app and how does it work?
Ivo Dimitrov: CozZo is a holistic kitchen management system for households that assists in avoiding spoiled food and helps them optimize their grocery shopping and cooking planning.
It helps our users buy the products they need in the right quantity, know what expires today or tomorrow, and see what their actual food waste level is.
This is accomplished with an all-purpose shopping planner, expiry-tracking food and home supplies inventories and recipes finder, which is matched to available ingredients in users’ fridge and cupboards.
Waste360: How does the app help reduce food waste?
Ivo Dimitrov: CozZo is designed to tackle the six common reasons for food waste at home. We misjudge how much we need to buy when planning for our grocery shopping; we discard food because it is past its “best-before” date; food ends up in the bin because we are unrealistic about our cooking plans; we buy more because supermarkets seduce us with promotions; we have so much storage space and so little time for regular checks on stocked food that we simply forget what we have; and there is miscommunication between household members, which results in double purchases.
Waste360: How is the app helping during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ivo Dimitrov: CozZo has seen a sharp uptake in users during the COVID-19 crisis as households are keen to keep track of the food they have at home and utilize it in the best way possible. The development team has worked quickly to introduce innovative meal planning capabilities to answer this demand.
As a result, the app now includes a recipe search engine and is able to import recipes from cooking websites around the globe to help users find meal ideas that use the products they have at home.
The functionality, the first of its kind within a pantry shopping app, uses AI technology to match recipes to ingredients that users have at home.
Waste360: How does the app benefit the waste and recycling industry?
Ivo Dimitrov: Our statistics show that CozZo users reduce their food waste in the first one to three months by 50% to 80%. As a result, much less food ends up in landfills, and there is less demand for waste processing.
Waste360: How much food waste has been reduced for those using the app?
Ivo Dimitrov: Since its release, CozZo has been used to track 603,500 perishable products. On average, 5% of those have gone to waste, which is at least 16% better than the official statistics. In the U.S., an average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year — 21% of the food they buy. At the current moment, our impact can be measured at 96,560 products saved from the bin.
Waste360: Is there a cost to use the app?
Ivo Dimitrov: CozZo is offered on a free, monthly and yearly plan. The free plan includes all expiry-tracking features and is well suited for people living solo. For multi-member households that want to easily track their fridge, freezer and pantries, we offer monthly and yearly subscription plans. And we’re happy to announce that CozZo has been selected to join an exciting European Commission research project into waste in the food chain.