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Retailers Post Unsold, Unexpired Food For A Discount W/ PareUp

Updated: Jun 20, 2015 19:46
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Hungry? Broke? Malnourished? Do you live in a city where anything green costs more than what you make in an hour? Then stop reading this, get PareUp , and treat yourself. And you’ll be helping to curb food waste while you’re at it.

PareUp connects users with discounted food that New York City retailers were going to throw out anyway. Each year Americans waste at least 40% of their food ‘from farm to fork,’ according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Commercial retailers are the worst offenders. It’s an ugly part of the food cycle nobody wants to talk about, a problem that the cornucopia of foodie apps out there had yet to address.


Image via PareUp

The founders of PareUp saw an opportunity to save food from going to waste by putting it on the plates of people looking to dine well on a budget. At first they imagined a service where users open their fridges to one another, but decided it would be uber creepy (pun intended) to apply the model of the sharing economy to half eaten jars of peanut butter and Greek yogurt. The breakthrough came with something bakeries were already doing–offering discounts on soon to be wasted food. They set out to scale that model to food services of all types. The folks at PareUp wagered on ethics as a driving force behind consumer habits. Far from early concerns that almost-stale bagels might give patrons the wrong idea about a baker, participation with this service only strengthens a brand and demonstrate its values to a new generation of customers, customers who have not just money to spend, but also fucks to give. “People care about businesses that care about people,” said co-founder and CEO, Margaret Tung.

Image via

PareUp is a win-win for businesses and their customers. It’s good for Broke-Asses like us who can’t afford cupcakes and salads. It brings businesses new customers, who might not have otherwise come in the door and who may in time learn towards full priced items. The attraction of wider demographics was confirmed by PareUp’s study of one specialty grocer. They found that the main customers of the store’s discount aisle were it’s own employees. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that specialty grocers in Manhattan don’t pay a wage you could spend in a specialty grocer in Manhattan.

PareUp is a marketing win, especially for small brick and mortar shops that can’t afford marketing to begin with. They are threatened by the same forces of gentrification that have driven up food prices in the first place.

Word is spreading. Columbia’s startup lab has opened it’s doors to the PareUp team, and they’ve been covered in the Huffington Post’s Cultural Accupunture series.It’s just a New York thing for now, but PareUp has plans to expand and adapt to other cities and other markets.



Free Events in NYC — Summer 2015 — What? Where? When? – A facebook group that’s pretty explanatory

NYC ID – Free admission to a bunch of museums for one year with your city ID. Flash your credentials as a card-carrying New Yorker.

PareUp on the Highline – Get PareUp to find dinner/dessert and enjoy them outdoors with someone(s) special. Thrift and social consciousness are really attractive and love is still free in this great City.

Find a complete (and growing) list of vendors here. 

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