A Simple Solution to the Complicated Problem of Food Waste

Too Good To Go, an alternative to takeout and groceries, has just launched in Vancouver

Israel Lobo (he/him) // Contributor 

Too Good To Go, a company originally launched in 2016 in Copenhagen, has recently launched in Vancouver. Their first arrival to Canada was earlier this year in July when they launched in Toronto, meaning their operations now span a total of 15 countries. This app offers users a new way of getting takeout and groceries—the “surprise bag” provided by local restaurants and grocery stores, with items ranging from baked goods to fully prepared meals. The company has seen success with these bags, due to the simplicity in terms of ordering, but also for the positive impact that it has towards food waste.

Sam Kashani (he/him), Too Good To Go‘s Canadian Country Manager, was impacted the most by how the organization provided the tools to stop, or at least decrease, food waste.  “Too Good To Go provides the tools for all to get involved and feel empowered to be making a difference,” he said, noting that the cause is important to many who have joined to make an impact in the world.

Apart from helping consumers, the app also provides businesses with an alternative to throwing away excess food. Instead, they indicate when they are willing to sell their products. This is for a discounted price, as they are items that would otherwise be thrown away in the next few days anyway.

Unfortunately not everything has been satisfactory according to reviews on both the Google Play and Apple Stores, with reviewers saying that their orders were cancelled just minutes before their arrival. When asked about this, Kashani noted that food waste is unpredictable. “We can’t know for sure what will be available or not,” he said. “We want our users to have the best food possible, for the best price, and this sometimes involves cancelling orders so we can maintain that standard.”

Another issue that has shown up is the fact that people don’t seem to trust how easy it is to use the app—wondering how it’s possible to get quality food for a better price than if they were to purchase it in store. Kashani gladly explained this saying, “our model is simple, for both users and business, because if the solution was more complex, people and business would not follow it.” The model that Kashani refers to, is the so-called “surprise bag,” which is a bag with a larger amount of food for a cheaper price. “If we were to provide a menu instead of the surprise bag, our solution wouldn’t be as easy and we wouldn’t attract as many people,” explains Kashani.

To this day, Too Good To Go has helped save over 94 million meals, helping hundreds of people get affordable prices for great deals on groceries or prepared meals. The goal is to exceed the 100 million mark this year, and eventually reach a milestone of one billion meals saved in the future. In the meantime, the idea will remain simple—take out your phone, download the app, check the options available in your area, select a pickup time, pay and enjoy your meal. 

To sign up for the app, go to https://toogoodtogo.ca.

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