A Global Community Fighting Food Waste
The goal of challenge #24:
- Sample 3 different meals via the Too Good To Go app
- Supporting Sustainable Development Goal 2; End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Magic Bags - What’s not to like!
I was very excited about this challenge as it was set to be full of food & surprises – two of my favourite things😊 – It also about another B-Corp of which I love the concept.
This week was all about the Too Good To Go (TGTG) which aims to reduce food waste one meal at a time. With 1/3 of all food produced currently being wasted – this is clearly an area where we need to change our ways. The concept: Food that has been prepared but not eaten (and that has of course not already been on someone else’s plate) is up up for grabs at the end of a meal time slot, for a reduced price via the To Good To Go app.
TGTG has some impressive statistics: Over 34.3 million meals have already been saved which equates to avoiding almost 86 tonnes of unnecessary C02 emissions. Their app is completely user-friendly and the whole experience put a smile on my face, not just due to good food, but also the interesting chats I had along the way.
Trial #1 - Time Out - Work Canteen
After briefly checking the app to see what was available, I chose ‘Time Out’ as it was only a short bike-ride away and offered a warm meal for €3. I just rocked up promptly at 2pm – important as you only have a 15 minute window to pick up the food. It turns out it was a canteen on the 4th floor serving several office blocks. I knew I was in the right place as I saw a ‘Too Good To Go’ sticker on the door.
Whilst there I had a chat with the lovely ladies from the canteen. There was visibly lots of food left over, and whilst they said they do their best to use certain items the next day where suitably possible, e.g. veggies in soup, it was clear that lots gets thrown away. They had been part of TGTG for 2 years and said it works really well. After a few minutes, a guy walked in with his order code at the ready and was welcomed with ‘Hallo Mario’ and smiles all round – I got a sense of it being a friendly community 🤗
Mario mentioned he has been using the app since 2017 and finds it great as he works shifts and is grateful to eat proper meals that he doesn’t have to spend time cooking – he proudly scrolled through all of his orders over the last few years – clearly Mario is a fan! Whilst I was there, another young lady picked up her portion and was swiftly on her way.
Whilst the experience left me with a smile on my face and a full belly after opening my ‘Magic-bag’ like a child on their birthday (you never know exactly what you will be getting but can chose between veggie and meat versions), I found the use of styrofoam and lots of aluminium foil a BIG downer. I did ask if I could bring my plastic carton in advance next time which they said yes to and realised after that most partners mention in the app that you can bring your own container.
Trial #2 - Back Werk - Bakery
For my next trip, I chose a bakery right next to where I was working that day. This time it was thumbs up to the packaging – a paper bag, although next time I would even ask to use my own bag too. For this magic-bag I paid €3.50 and got LOTS! 18 items in total, most of which were bread rolls, but there was also a few sweet pastries and two sausage rolls – I was also happy with the quality and freshness.
Again whilst in the shop I asked the two people who were working there how they found TGTG. They both said it was really popular and worked nicely, however highlight that very little food actually gets thrown away, as items left otherwise get donate to the local shelters that provide food and support for homeless people. I was left slightly dis-heartened, as this bakery is one of the very big chains and clearly don’t depend on the extra, although minimal, income from this avenue. I decided to prioritise my future selections on independent or small family run options. As it turns out there are not so many of these yet in my areas – but there are an awful lot of bakeries chains using the app.
The amount was a lot more than I was expecting so presented a bit of a challenge in itself. We only have a tiny freezer, so just a couple of rolls fitted in there, and I offered a nice basket to our lovely neighbours who were happy to help. The rest was eaten over the next couple of days, which certainly contained more bread based meals than usual. It is important to realise that 70% of food waste happens at home – NOT restaurants and supermarkets – so when doing this, I certainly wanted to be sure to not ‘save’ the food from the supplier, only to throw it away at home!
TGTG Trial #3 - POTTKULTUR - local café gem
It took a few more days for a local, independent option to come up, but I was very happy to come across some tasty end of day goodies from POTTKULTUR. Off I rode with my paper bags at the ready. For my €3.50 I was able to chose two delicious savoury rolls, two cakes and two pastries. Again we had a little chat about their Too Good To Go experience. The guys running the café had been part of the community for about half a year and said they were definitely able to reduce the food that is leftover at the end of the day, but they felt that still not enough people know about the app – so I hope with this post, I help spread the word and encourage one or two of you to give it a go yourselves.
A few tips to keep in mind when using the app:
- You need to be flexible & mobile – as pick-up times are generally an hour or so after typical meal times and you have to go a pick up the food within a short window of time, generally 15 minutes.
- Check if you can bring your own container – These options are always better to avoid unnecessary packaging.
- Not for fussy eaters – The so called ‘magic-bags’ have an element of surprise which I love – but isn’t for everyone. Basically you can’t be sure of what you are getting before hand – go on be brave!😉
- Ask if food is being saved or redirected, to check the social impact of your choice. If the food, having not been bought through the app, is likely to go to others more in need of it than you – as per my 2nd experience at the bakery – I would be inclined to chose a different option.
- Be sure not to waste the food after taking it home – This app has the risk of luring in bargin-hunters who may go on to get quantities of food they then will not eat at home. Be realistic and ask yourself if you are definitely going to eat, or are able to store, what you order before you buy.
All in all I really enjoyed using the app and will definitely keep using it going forward. I look forward to when more independent places get on board too.
Thanks for reading
Your Better Me Greener
…Fancy reading a little more? Here is my interesting read of the week:
- Carbon Brief – Report on the UK’s 2020 Budget announcements showing limited sustainable improvements – Claimed to be “a s