Too Good To Go: Not just another food app

In a world where over 1 billion people are starving, an enormous amount of edible food is going to waste. The House of Lords conducted an inquiry into the cost of food waste across the EU in 2014. They found that the EU produces 89m tonnes of food waste a year, and the UK is one of the highest contributors, dumping 14m tonnes of that waste .

They also wrote in their conclusions that if nothing was done about this then EU food wastage would rise to 126m tonnes by 2020.

The findings from this report and others like it, along with the efforts of charities, has seen the topic of tackling food wastage become more prominent in socio-political conversations.

The infographic below is just one of thousands circulating social channels.

At the beginning of this year, France passed a law banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. The food instead would go to charities and food banks.

Predictably, campaigners reached out to the UK government to follow in France's footsteps. Food wastage is costing the UK £2.46bn a year, after all - let alone the human costs of starvation. But, let's face it, it'll be a while until that becomes a serious legislative conversation.

I'm not saying that the government aren't doing anything, by the way. Scotland passed some regulations in 2012 that requires all businesses producing waste over 50kg a week to recycle it. There's also the Courtauld Commitment, which is a voluntary agreement between the UK government and major food retailers that they will essentially put more efforts into reducing food waste.

A promising start, of course, but we've got a way to go.

I know this is off-topic to what I usually write about. But, regardless of the interests that lead you to read Pippa Says, food waste is a universal issue that we should all be talking about.

I could talk to you for a good dissertations-worth more about food wastage, but I'll spare myself the footnotes and instead focus on one app that's doing their bit to get your minds thinking in the same way it has with mine.

The app in question is called 'Too Good To Go'. It's an app that enables you to buy food from certain restaurants before they throw it out. This food is all edible, it simply wasn't sold during the restaurant's opening hours.

Too Good To Go has been a growing success in Denmark, Germany, Norway, France and Switzerland for a little while, and this week it launched in Leeds and Brighton, with a London launch expected to happen soon.

The day before the Brighton launch, myself and two other food bloggers (Jess and Josh Cook and a to-be-revealed food blogger) met one of the Directors of Too Good To Go's UK business, Harry, to find out more about the app.

We met in Moshimo, one of Too Good To Go's Brighton choices. Harry explained that local restaurants, cafes and bakeries sign up to the app, and alert the app when they have food available, at which point the app automatically updates the users.

Meals are cheap, priced between £2 and £4, on average. You don't know what you're getting when you buy the meal, which is enticing for the adventurous foodies amongst us, but a downside for those with food restrictions. Although, this is something they are working on developing.

Harry gave us a demonstration on how to use the app, which was a very simple "pick the restaurant, pick the quantity, pay and pick it up at the designated time". There's also a 'Pay It Forward' scheme that gives you the option of buying meals for the homeless through the app.

Food isn't always available from their partner restaurants as it depends on how much food they have left at the end of the day, but the app lets you know how many meals are available and from where.

Due to my multiple number of allergies (dairy and wheat being the biggest inconvenience) and the mysterious blogger having a nut allergy, Too Good To Go did have to plan our meals in advance with Moshimo.

As mentioned before, this wouldn't happen usually - until that feature is developed. You also wouldn't be allowed to eat in the restaurant - but you wouldn't with a takeaway, anyway.

I know that this isn't a review on Moshimo, but I will say the food was delicious - and only £4 for the whole meal (compared to around £4 per sushi pot), although I must mention at this point that this was paid for by Too Good To Go.

To further enhance the sustainable factors of their business, the food arrived in Too Good To Go's eco-friendly sugarcane boxes, made out of recycled materials and sugarcane, with no chemical additives. They're also biodegradable and fair trade certified.

It's no surprise that this app has began its roll out in Brighton, home of the Real Junk Food Project, Wriggle, SILO, FareShare Sussex, The Big Lemon, the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and many more food waste initiatives.

It'll be interesting to see how successful the app becomes in the UK, especially considering that Denmark has over 250 restaurants and over 150,000 users.

On paper, it's a no-brainer - really cheap takeaway food and the moral satisfaction that you're helping to combat the problem of food wastage. Sure, the "I can't tell you what's in the box" rule does make it challenging for the free-fromers and generally fussy eaters among us, but I would urge anyone out of that category to give the service a go, whilst the rest of us wait in envy.

As Harry said, minutes after we all sat down to eat: "This food is better off in our bellies, than in the bins."

Download 'Too Good To Go' in the App Store or Google Play and share your thoughts with each other below.

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