App that serves great cut-price grub also gives food for thought
Trybe offers budget meals which also cut waste
One cold, rainy night last autumn, Ilkka Salo faced a dilemma. Should she venture out to Tesco to pick up the groceries she'd need to cook dinner from scratch, or resort, for the umpteenth time, to takeaway?
Determined not to succumb to the lazy option, she set out for the supermarket, but on the way bumped into the mother of an Indian family who lived in the same building.
They got chatting and, when Salo explained her culinary quandary, the lady offered some of the vegetable curry she'd made for supper.
"I hesitated a little bit, as I really didn't know the family that well," Salo says, "then looked out of the door, and the rain was getting quite heavy. I turned back to the lady and said, 'Okay, I would really love to accept your offer, but only if you allow me to pay for the curry'.
"She at first refused, but I pulled a £5 note from my pocket and she silently accepted it. She went upstairs and brought me a plate of curry. That happened to be the best curry I have had in my entire life."
In that moment, the idea for Trybe (visit eat.try.be), which has just launched in London, was born. The app provides a platform on which amateur cooks can sell their wares, via either a delivery service, or pick-up, and allows hungry Londoners to sample a variety of cuisines and support their neighbours' entrepreneurial efforts (plans are under way to expand across the UK early next year).
The average order size is £12, which includes two mains, making this a cost-effective way to experience risotto made by an actual Italian, or try authentic home-cooked Thai.
Trybe is just the latest in a growing number of techie food-sharing services to crop up in the UK.
In June, Too Good To Go (too goodtogo.co.uk) started offering cut-price meals from restaurants, cafes and bakeries that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Available in Brighton, Leeds and London (with Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow coming on board soon), you can choose from more than 170 eateries, with prices ranging from just £2 to £3.80 per portion - you just have to be able to go and pick up your chow an hour before closing. And for groceries - Olio (olioex.com) is like FreeCycle, but for leftovers.
Got a cupboard full of sundries you know you're never going to use?
Open the app, add a photo, description and price (if you want) and wait for someone in your neighbourhood to claim that kilo of spelt flour you bought during your short-lived bread-baking phase.
The service uses geolocation, so you can see what grub is on offer near you, and donors (who include local business, too) can opt to use drop boxes for pick-up instead of their home.
With food waste costing the average family £700 a year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme, these kind of apps are a genius way of using technology to solve a global problem on a local scale.
Satisfying diners, cooks and businesses alike, this is a very tasty next step in the war on waste.