The food-sharing concept that began in Athens in response to the economic crisis will be expanding to London this year, allowing home cooks to sell their leftover meal to neighbours down the street.
Travel pundits are already calling Cookisto, the food version of Couchsurfing, as part of the sharing economy or collaborative consumption movement.
Here’s how it works: You’ve made a few trays of lasagna and misjudged portion sizes and people’s appetite. You have too many leftovers and want to get rid of them! Or, you’re a budding chef who loves to cook, test out recipes and get a feedback. Whatever the scenario, users can upload photos of their food, descriptions, portions and price and wait to see who bites. Members arrange for pick-up or delivery among themselves.
What began as a master’s degree thesis by a business student became a runaway hit in Athens, where 12,000 people signed up to the service, since its launch a few months ago, reports the BBC.
And though Londoners are far better off economically than their counterparts in Greece where the unemployment rate is a staggering 28 percent, the concept has already generated buzzing interest among more than 18,600 home cooks who have signed up to the service which has yet to launch.
Like services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing, Cookisto is an exercise with an honour system that requires a level of blind trust among members. There are no food and safety standards or inspectors. The functioning of the service will depend on the ratings and reviews from members. Meanwhile, Cookisto isn’t the first site to serve as a digital marketplace for food exchanges. German website Foodsharing.de was also created with the same intent. People would share surplus foods with strangers, reduce food waste and divert garbage from landfills.
Recently adopted a gluten-free or low-carb diet? Instead of throwing away that perfectly edible loaf of bread, users can post it online. Threw a huge dinner party and overstocked the fridge with fruits and vegetables that risk going bad? Post them online and help feed a struggling family in need. Unlike Cookisto, foods shared on the German site are free.
Cookisto.co.uk is set to launch in the coming weeks.