Climate Crisis and the Environment

Too Good To Go App

Esme talks us through the Too Good To Go App.

Too Good To Go is an app that launched in Copenhagen in 2015 in with the aim of fighting food waste, but does it work?

1/3 of all food produced worldwide goes to waste, and yet 1 billion people go hungry each day, so clearly food waste and sustainability is an issue we need to tackle. Too Good To Go is an app that has the potential to help alleviate some of this wastage, while also saving money for the consumer and the businesses involved.

“Less food is wasted.”

Cafes, restaurants, kitchens, and stores advertise their surplus leftover food, and users of the app can sign up to buy and collect the high-quality meals at a reduced price. In return, less food is wasted, the customer gets delicious food for a discount, and businesses save money that would otherwise be put towards disposing of fresh food.

“The start-up now boasts over 6.3 million users in 9 European countries, and is rapidly expanding.”

It’s a simple concept and is clearly effective. The start-up now boasts over 6.3 million users in 9 European countries, and is rapidly expanding. Over the 15, 000 participating stores, over 7.8 million meals have been ‘rescued’ in the UK since 2016. This helps prevent some of the 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 which enter our atmosphere each year thanks to wasted food. Too Good To Go’s mission allows their users to know that they have not only helped the environment, but their wallet too. For students on a budget, this might be a great option.

The app is easy to use, with a simple and functional design. After creating an account, the app uses your device’s GPS to locate nearby participating establishments who are advertising portions of food, and tells you how much it has been reduced by and when it’s available for collection. You can also filter the results for whether it’s from a restaurant or a bakery, or if you want vegetarian or speciality food.

“there are some issues which may make finding food difficult”

A quick browse on the app brings up plenty of options. Based on my location in Lenton, I was first shown The Speciality Coffee Shop, which was offering cake, cookies, and pastries usually priced at £10 for just £3.59. The Ugly Bread Bakery was offering pizza, salad, and cake at £3.99 down from £9. Yo! Sushi, who are one of the most successful restaurants on the app, offer sushi at £3.50 from a typical retail price of £11. There’s plenty of options and it’s easy to collect the meals, but you have to move fast to get the best savings as things sell out quickly.

Despite this, there are some issues which may make finding food difficult. Ingredients are not listed, which may pose a problem for those with allergies or intolerances, and the food offered is generally not the healthiest.

Further, there were few places to buy from in Nottingham—in fact, only six stores were featured in the city, whereas London has over 500. While this is something that should change as more businesses agree to take part, for now the choices can be a little limited. Chris Wilson, who helped bring the app to the UK, stated that ‘most of the places tend to be independent or just small chains because it is really hard to crack the big companies’. Given that it’s chain restaurants and supermarkets who waste the most food, hopefully they will get on board before long.

Overall, Too Good To Go is an exciting, practical, and innovative addition to eco- and budget-friendly apps. It helps the environment, the cash-strapped meal-hunter, and local businesses, and is free to use. Saving perfectly good food from the bin has to be a win.

Esme Johnson

Featured image courtesy of mjmonty via Flickr, no changes made to the image. Image license can be found here.

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