The United States wastes about 40 percent of its food, and much of it is still edible by the time it goes to the trash. What can you do about it? Download the Too Good To Go App and buy leftovers for only a few dollars.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, between 30-40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste every year. This is the equivalent of about 133 billion pounds and 161 billion Dollars worth of food.
Food gets wasted in households, grocery stores, restaurants, and other food-related businesses such as coffee shops and bars. The best approach to start reducing your food waste is by not generating it at home.
Some ways to do that are
- meal planning and meal prep,
- buying local produce,
- storing food correctly,
- and only buying what you are going to eat.
In this article, we will show you how you can go one step further and order cheap takeout food from your local restaurants, grocery stores, and other food businesses through the Too Good To Go App – and how the planet and your wallet can benefit from it.
The Too Good To Go App: How Does It Work?
Too Good To Go was created in 2016 in Denmark, and now it operates in fifteen different countries. It made its way to the United States at the end of 2020, and it’s now serving major cities including New York, Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco amongst others.
The main purpose of this app is to connect customers with restaurants, grocery stores, and other food-related businesses that have unsold food items. Through the Too Good to Go app, you can order their leftovers for only a few dollars and reduce the amount of food that gets thrown in the trash.
- You can download the Too Good To Go App on your cellphone just like you would do with any other mobile app (via App Store and Google Play).
- Once you have it, you can introduce your location and then narrow down your search by customizing how many miles away from your home you want to go.
- When you open the app, you will see all retail businesses near you that are registered in Too Good To Go, and if they have any surplus to sell or not.
- Before you purchase anything, you will see the price and the items (or not, if it’s a surprise bag) displayed, as well as when pick-up time is. For restaurants, bakeries, and cafés it is usually before they close at the end of the day. However, grocery stores often have items that you can pick up throughout the day as well.
At the moment, Too Good To Go is only available in the following major cities in the United States: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. However, they plan to keep expanding throughout the country and into smaller cities and towns in the near future.
Why Surprise Bags?
Leftover food items available at the end of the day are different every day. For this reason, when you order food in the Too Good To Go app it often comes in form of a “surprise bag”. This means that you will pay for a bag full of food, but you don’t always know exactly what is inside.
- For example, grocery stores often have food that is about to go bad and therefore can no longer be displayed in-store. You can order a bag of food for only a few dollars, pick it up before the store closes, and help reduce the amount of food wasted that day.
- A similar thing happens with restaurants, bakeries, and cafés. At the end of the day, you can purchase the surplus of food they already cooked that otherwise would go straight to the garbage.
This app is convenient both for you and for the store or restaurant. They throw away less food and lose less money, and you buy leftover items that otherwise would be wasted, for less money. According the the official website, 111 million meals have been saved via the app since 2016.
Too Good To Go: Advantages & Drawbacks
According to FoodPrint.org, restaurants in the US generate between 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste every year. But food waste has other effects beyond throwing away food that someone else could have eaten. It is not only the food item itself that goes to waste, but also the water, labor, and energy needed to produce, transport, and prepare that item.
By using the Too Good to Go app, you are preventing food and resources from being wasted. On top of that, this app allows you to order takeout food from restaurants, or surprise bags from stores all while being on a budget. Usually, prices range between 3.99 Dollars and 5.99 Dollars for a bag of food worth three to four times that price, making it just as good for your wallet as it is for the planet.
One big downside of ordering food through this app is that because surprise bags are made of whatever is left at the end of the day, there is no way of addressing dietary restrictions. This can be a problem especially to vegans and vegetarians, as well as anyone who follows a gluten-free or dairy-free diet. For vegans and vegetarians, the best option is to only order from plant-based restaurants. However, for other dietary restrictions, there’s always the chance that you order something you won’t be able to eat.
- Zero Waste Kitchen: 8 Steps to Producing Less Trash
- Healthy Meal Prep Ideas: Easy Meal Planning Tips
- Storing Food Correctly: 7 Tricks for Vegetables, Fruits and Leftovers
** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
Do you like this post?