Too Good to Go: The app to tackle food waste

Technological disruption is nothing new in foodservice, but, as a new app launches determined to get to the bottom of the problem of waste in restaurants, developers are starting to use technology as a force for good. Ellie Clayton meets Chris Wilson, UK co-founder of the Too Good to Go app, to find out he plans to take it global

Where did the idea for Too Good To Go come from?

The app was founded with a mission to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. It’s a response to the harrowing fact that as a global society, we carelessly throw away over one-third of the food we produce at the same time as watching one billion people go to bed hungry every night. We’re trying to highlight that food is food – our most valuable resource of energy – and not a mere consumer commodity.

What has the reception from operators been like? Do you think they had acknowledged a need for your product before it arrived?

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In a little more than three weeks we’ve had 55,000 downloads across Android and iOS and new restaurants are constantly contacting us to try and come on board – we’re struggling to cope with the interest! The food waste problem is being dealt with in many different ways both by social enterprises and the charitable sector, but by introducing an app to the marketplace that can be downloaded by anyone we’re hoping to penetrate consumer consciousness on the subject at a level that hasn’t been achieved before, hopefully reaching out to people who may not have previously been aware of the problem in the process.

What are the challenges for restaurant operators in using third party apps and how do you envisage overcoming them?

Introducing any new concept to an organisation founded on routine is always a challenge. However, we have made the TGTG app as simple and straightforward as possible, and have been constantly gathering feedback from restaurateurs to ensure our model works for them as best as possible. This, combined with the fact that we provide our restaurants with eco-friendly sugarcane packaging means there’s is no extra effort or costs to restaurants in getting involved in what we’re doing, which we think makes it a no-brainer. Restaurants save on waste disposal costs, make a return on what they would have otherwise thrown away, get free exposure to a brand new market space, help protect the environment and see the food that they have put so much love and care into making end up where it belongs – in bellies, not bins.

What are your plans for growth?

Having so recently launched in the UK we’re currently focusing on tackling on restaurant food wastage here. However, we are getting emails every day from people as far out as Brazil and Singapore to bring TGTG to them – so who knows what the future has in store! Food waste is a global epidemic, and if we can help to raise awareness of that then we’ve achieved something. Our ultimate goal is to turn TGTG into a waste management platform that allows restaurants to control their supply better, eliminating any possibility of food waste at source and eventually making TGTG redundant.

Do different cities pose different challenges?

As we’re currently active in Leeds, Brighton, Birmingham and London and have only been in operation for roughly 12 weeks, we’re yet to truly experience the challenges that different cities might pose to us. The UK, glorious in its diversity, is sure to throw up many exciting opportunities and possibilities – and we’re excited to get TGTG nationwide as quickly as possible.

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