A pioneering app is combating food waste by offering surplus restaurant food at up to 90% discount
According to the United Nations, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the US and China.
It's a shocking enough fact alone, yet sadly one of many similarly alarming statistics, from the world’s one billion malnourished people to the 40 million tonnes of wastage that could feed every one of them.
Something on such a global scale can be hard to grasp, but change has to take root locally before it can take hold internationally. Enter Too Good to Go, a pioneering ‘hyper-local’ mobile app which allows users to purchase restaurant food that would otherwise go to waste at up to 90% discount.
So how does it work? Well, participating restaurants offer a number of meals at anywhere from £2 to £3.80, based on how much food they believe will be left over. Users can search restaurants by location and purchase an advance meal, before picking it up at the designated collection time. These range from 3.30pm to past 10pm based on the type of venue and service; whether breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It seems so simple, yet the Too Good to Go team justifiably call their app ‘revolutionary.’ Since launching in Denmark towards the end of 2015, it has saved 805,000 meals and prevented 1500 tonnes of CO2 emissions - not to mention given people across six countries some pretty great bargains. Even the sugarcane takeaway boxes are environmentally-friendly.
The Manchester arm of TGTG launched last October and now has over twenty participating restaurants. Below we’ve picked out five of the best…
The Spinningfields meat maestros are offering the likes of the Cubano sandwich (a Confidential fave), stews, soups and pulled pork rolls for £2.50. Left Bank, M3 3AG (collection time: 4-5pm)
TGTG users can cadge dishes such as egg-fried rice, sweet caramel chicken and Thai curry from the Oriental noodle bar for just £2.50. Gateway House, Piccadilly, M1 2GH (collection time: 8.30-8.50pm)
Expect award-winning cakes, pastries and other baked goods - all at £2 - from the popular NQ café and restaurant. 53-55 Thomas Street, M4 1NA (collection time: 5.30-6pm)
Katsouris are making their deli delights available for £3, spanning smoked sausage with rice to Greek-style salads and piri piri chicken. 113 Deansgate, M3 2BQ (collection time: 3.30-4.30pm)
Visitors can ‘cheat clean’ at the Ancoats healthy fast food joint with a ‘surprise box:’ from kettleboxes stuffed full of meat and veg to burgers, wraps and waffles. 67 Great Ancoats Street, M4 5AB (collection time: 9-9.45pm)
Beastro’s Richard Brown told Confidential (over a bacon sarnie): "Obviously we have a lot of items we have to throw away at the end of the day due to stock rotation. With Too Good to Go we get clients coming in around four o'clock to take whatever we’ve got left over - anything from a pulled pork sandwich down to a beef stroganoff.
"We’ve been with them three months now and had about 30-40 people. There just needs to be more awareness, the concept is brilliant.”
Elsewhere keep an eye out for fellow waste food warriors Real Junk Food, who will soon be opening their Ancoats café in a bid to #feedbelliesnotbins, as well as the September launch of The Dealer - another philanthropic app which allows restaurants to turn empty tables into revenue by offering significant discounts (i.e. 50% off Mon-Thurs), and users the chance to donate some of their savings to charity.
Ethical, economical dining is undeniably on the rise - long may it continue.