Fighting food loss and waste from your home is possible. One way to do it is using the mobile application Too Good to Go. This service allows you to buy unsold food surplus at a much lower price than average (usually one-third of the original price). Too Good to Go is one of the best options to reduce food waste by connecting customers to restaurants and stores.
“Our mission? To make sure good food gets eaten, not wasted”, claims their website. Too Good to Go aims to build a movement starting from customers’ daily choices. “Every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafés, restaurants, hotels, shops, and manufacturers - just because it hasn’t sold in time,” they explain. “The Too Good to Go app lets customers buy and collect Surprise Bags of food - at a great price - directly from businesses.”
Born in 2015 in Denmark (and co-founded in Switzerland, Austria, France, and the United Kingdom), Too Good to Go already covers many major European cities and is now spreading in North America. Mette Lykke, CEO and co-founder of the food waste app holds that his entrepreneurial project is turning an issue dear to everyone into an opportunity. Indeed, turning food waste into business appears to be a “win-win solution.”
So far, Too Good to Go is the fastest-growing sustainable food app start-up by the number of downloads (with more than 2,271,314 monthly app downloads). Only in 2022, around 139 million meals have been collected thanks to the app. Moreover, the service creates employment opportunities, with more than 1,345 employees estimated in 2022.
Too Good to Go’s role appears even more precious and meaningful if we consider the extent of the food waste phenomenon. United Nations Environment Programme’s 2021 Report about food waste reveals a dramatic situation. “If food loss and waste were a country,” claims Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, “it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.”
By delving into the available data about food waste (which differ according to the country taken into account), the research established some valuable numeric estimates. Interestingly, the study considered the three sectors in which food waste figures as a major-league phenomenon. These are households, food service, and retail. In particular, the 2019 Report shows that 17% of total global food production has been wasted: 11% of it by households, 5% by food service, and 2% by retail.
The starting point of the study was the definition of food waste. The UN Environment Programme defines food waste as “food, drinks and associated inedible parts removed from the human food supply chain” and ended up in “landfill, controlled combustion, sewer, litter/discards/refuse, co/anaerobic digestion, compost /aerobic digestion or land application.”
One of the report's key findings is that households’ food waste appears equally relevant in high, upper‑middle, and lower-middle-income countries.
Furthermore, the research has established a food waste countries’ ranking divided into household, food service, and retail. The ranking considers only the countries with high confidence estimates about food waste. It is interesting to note how Australia, Austria, Denmark, and Germany appear in the top places in all three spheres.
Europe is certainly the most well-documented area for food loss and waste. This is why the study appears more in-depth in the European section.
Looking at these figures, we can grasp the severity of the food waste phenomenon. Moreover, the problem’s extent has even increased during COVID-19.
Even more crucial is finding solutions to food waste. Greenpeace holds that “the true solution is to change the food system model, which will minimize food loss and waste. Instead of an industrialized commodity trade model, we must start to relocalize production and consumption of ecologically produced food”.
What we can individually do to mitigate the problem is regain control of the food we all eat and waste. To begin with, we could start being aware of the amount of our food waste production. Figures show that households produce the highest number of waste. Another valuable path is taking action about others’ food waste, like food service and retail sectors. In this sense, Apps like Too Good to Go and OLIO can make our lives easier. Just downloading and using them can help prevent wasting food. Meanwhile, the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is now approaching. It is time to change the world, starting with the food we eat and, more importantly, the food we waste.
Edited by: Ayona Mitra
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