World leaders probably expected fine dining when they sat down to lunch at the U.N. last month. But the U.N.’s chefs had an additional goal in mind: not adding to the billions of tons of food wasted annually.

The chefs prepared a meal entirely from would-be wasted food, using perfectly edible produce that otherwise would have been thrown away because it looked unappealing or was near its expiration date. The meal included “landfill salad,” made from vegetable scraps, and juice pulp burgers.

It’s going to take more than a gourmet meal from leftovers to significantly reduce food waste. Thankfully technology can help.

Mobile apps like Spoiler Alert and Food Cowboy make it easy for food businesses to donate their surplus food. PareUp lets consumers buy unexpired foods from restaurants and supermarkets at a discount before they get thrown away.

Food scraps like skate wing cartilage and whitefish heads are ending up on restaurant menus as chefs find ways to waste less. (© AP Images)

MintScraps, a Web-based application, uses analytics to help restaurants and other food companies monitor food waste and make more sustainable choices.

You don’t even have to reach for a mobile device to find waste-saving innovations. Biotechnology can prevent browning or bruising, which is a major reason producers, retailers and even consumers discard fruits and vegetables.

“The United States enjoys the most productive and abundant food supply on Earth, but too much of this food goes to waste,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said when announcing the first-ever national food waste reduction goal — 50 percent by the year 2030.

“Rather than pitch [food], let’s figure out how to redirect it.”

World Food Day is October 16. Learn more about innovations by U.S. farmers, scientists, businesses and government agencies to reduce food waste at the Expo in Milan. The USA Pavilion, titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” showcases the United States as an innovator in the food sector.