In 2013, the FAO conducted the first study that analysed the impact of global food wastage on the environment. The report estimated that one-third of all food produced globally is either lost or wasted. Food waste represents a misuse of the labour, the water, the energy, the land and all the other natural resources that went into producing it. The later food is wasted along the supply chain between the producer and the market, the greater is its environmental impact because then it has also to be taken into consideration the energy and natural resources expended in processing, transporting, storing and cooking it.
But food waste doesn’t occur only when edible food is intentionally discarded by consumers after they fail to plan their meals properly and store food until it spoils or goes past the expiry date. At times, food waste can also happen due to oversupply in markets.
This is what gave birth to the idea for the app “Too Good To Go”. “Nobody likes seeing food go to waste, but the reality is that it’s very common for businesses and households to waste food. However, for us it became clear that something had to be done when we saw perfectly good food being thrown away after a buffet…food that was just ‘too good to go’”, the founders say.
The idea is really simple. Too Good To Go is an app providing a marketplace that connects businesses who have surplus food (restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets…) with costumers who want to rescue that food. Customers order a “magic bag” of surplus food at a discount on the retail price and then collect it from the stores in question in a pre-set collection window. The content of the “magic bag” is secret and different every time since it depends on the surplus food of the day.
So, an app that lets everyone do their bit to reduce waste, while also getting delicious food and supporting local businesses. In fact, the businesses get to reduce their waste besides having potential new customers try out their food and users can enjoy great products at a good price.
However, the biggest winner in this equation is the environment.
Food waste produces a large amount of methane – a more powerful greenhouse gas than even CO2 – that it’s responsible for 8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, food waste also represents a great waste of freshwater and groundwater resources. It is said that a volume of water roughly three times the volume of Lake Geneva is used just to produce food that is not eaten. By throwing out one kilogram of beef, 50,000 liters of water were used to produce that meat is wasted. In the same way, nearly 1000 liters of water is wasted when you pour one glass of milk down the drain. Too Good To Go is able to save around 2.5 million kg of CO₂by saving 1 million meals. This equates to the amount of energy required to charge more than 300 million smartphones.
In Belgium, each year 3.5 million tons of food are thrown away, with an average of 345 kg of food per inhabitant, 15 of which are wasted at home. All this food waste represents a loss of 670 million euros per year. Since Too Good To Go Belgium was launched on March 1, 2018, 1,084,307 meals have been saved.
However, Too Good To Go exists beyond a smartphone, it also wants to contribute as much as possible to the creation of a global movement to fight against food waste. To answer this challenge, the Too Good To Go team has decided to work on 4 pillars that are built around concrete objectives to be held for 2020:
-To influence 50 million individuals: 47 million tons of food are thrown away each year by households in Europe, which represents more than half of the food waste in the European Union. So, raising public awareness on this issue and on ways to combat it, is the key to success. (Check their 6 tips to avoid food waste at home).
-To involve 75,000 businesses: finding solutions to reduce food waste is essential for all actors in the food chain. The app offers to partners the opportunity to generate additional income while exposing their business to a new clientele and establishing themselves as a committed player.
-To inspire 500 schools: Too Good To Go has developed a whole range of educational tools dedicated to food waste. If you’re a student looking for inspiration or a teacher looking for content, all these tools are at your disposal.
-To influence the legislation in 5 countries: food waste is no longer only recognized as a major problem, but also as a challenge to be solved. This growing awareness is thus making its way into the political agendas of an ever-increasing number of countries around the world.
Finally, if you are interested in the fight against food waste, you can consult their blog where they give useful advises on how to reduce food wasting and living in a more environmentally friendly way.