London, United Kingdom, May 27, 2020 --(PR.com
)-- Households can keep better track of their fridge and cupboard food stocks during COVID-19, thanks to a free food monitoring smartphone app developed by the combined efforts of students from University of Essex and University of Engineering and Management.
The pandemic has totally changed most people’s food buying habits – from stockpiling groceries in the early weeks of the crisis to shopping less often, at different times and in different ways.
But these changes have also meant households run the risk of having more food waste as they adapt to new shopping routines.
Suman Saha and Anupam Ghosal, computer scientists from the aforementioned colleges, joined forces to develop a free smartphone app capable of reminding households of the expiry date of the stocked items before they expire.
“When the COVID-19 crisis started, we were no different from anyone else affected by the pandemic,” explained Suman. “Everyone started to overbuy food as they wanted to isolate and practice social distancing. However, the biggest issue faced was managing a lot of food items in the fridge, especially the ones which have short expiry dates,” added Anupam.
With no app available on the market to make it easy for households to be reminded of food expiry dates while effectively managing their food supplies and track buying habits, this team decided to develop one.
Anupam added: “At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there was uncertainty around supplies and people started to panic buy food and other necessary items. Stores started running out and people started over-consuming. Due to a lack of management a lot of food was wasted every single day which could have fed someone in need. We personally faced these issues and decided to do something to tackle them.”
Suman, the lead of development at nosh quoted, “We clearly realised the lack in management of food resources, so we came up with the ‘nosh’ app, the solution to the food problem during the pandemic. It is a problem we don’t feel is important to address right now, but if people are not aware, we might have a run on food supplies. Food waste is a big problem all around the year, but the pandemic has inflated the problem even more.”
The team consists of a young 17-year-old coding talent, from the city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
“It’s very heart-warming to see such young people understanding a problem of the society and help come up with a potential solution,” added Suman.
The nosh app gained nearly 300 users in its first week of being released and gained good feedback from users. The research team is now seeking extra funding to further improve the nosh app. Now its has over 1000 combined users already.
Nosh is ranked 8th for "Top New Free" apps in the Productivity category in the UK’s Google Play Store, and is ranked 887th among the millions of apps in the UK’s Apple App Store. The app has also received a lot of attention in India and the app is ranked at 732nd for free apps in the Apple App Store.
Using artificial intelligence, the app enables the users to track the expiry date of food items along with the user's buying and food waste habits, which enable the user to make an informed decision on what items to buy or not to buy. The user can plan their shopping in-app before they go out to buy the items. The user is also able to get recipe suggestions on the stocked items so they can utilise the items better before they expire.