One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. That’s about 1.3 billion tons per year, worth approximately US$1 trillion. What’s more, all the food produced but never eaten would be enough to feed 2 billion people. That’s more than twice the number of undernourished people on earth. These facts come from the United Nations World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian organization in the world.
Too Good To Go is a social enterprise tackling the food waste problem. It fights the disposal of good food by making the eatables of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries available at greatly reduced prices just before they close – food that would otherwise be thrown out. According to its website, the enterprise’s mission “is to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away.” Specifically, Too Good To Go aims to tackle the 600,000 tons of edible restaurant food discarded every year and to change the common perception on food waste.
The company declares that “much of what’s thrown away isn’t actually ‘waste’ at all – just stuff that ends up in the bin because there’s nowhere else to put it.”
This is how it works: Go to the app and search for Surprise Bags of food from restaurants and shops near you. Choose a Surprise Bag from the Discover page, reserve it and confirm your purchase. Head to the shop at the given pick-up time to get your food. Take it to go and revel in the fact that you’ve just saved a meal from going to waste and done something good for the planet.
Too Good To Go’s offering includes bread and pastries from bakeries, freshly cooked meals from restaurants, breakfast from hotels, buffet food, and groceries from the supermarket. Any fresh surplus food can be sold on the app. Some products might have reached the expiration date but are still good for consumption.
Lots of food is just waiting to be saved. According to the World Food Programme, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa each year. Cutting global food waste in half by 2030 is a top UN priority. Indeed, it’s one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: reducing food loss and waste.
Too Good To Go is certainly meeting its objectives since it was founded in Denmark in 2015: “inspiring and empowering in the fight against food waste.” In March 2023, the company announced that it has “now saved over 200 million meals from going to waste, the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of CO2e. It currently operates in Europe (the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, The Netherlands, Austria and Norway), and America (Canada and the USA).”
More good news is that Too Good To Go is B Corp certified. This means the business “meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
So download the Too Good To Go app to see where to purchase Surprise Bags from your favorite stores and restaurants. Too Good To Go is not too good to be true!
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