At a time when Earth’s resources are stretched thin, the mountains of unsold and untouched food accumulating in our restaurants and food service locations stand as a tragically overlooked crisis. Recent studies show that US restaurants generate an estimated 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste each year. To make matters worse, only 10% of that amount is recovered annually. Too Good To Go is leading the food waste revolution by blending technology with sustainability initiatives—an app where surplus food is turned into an opportunity to make a difference.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s report on wasted food, “In 2019 alone, the EPA estimates that about 66 million tons of wasted food were generated in the food retail, food service, and residential sectors, and most of this waste (about 60%) was sent to landfills.” When discarded food decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that significantly heightens climate change and global warming. Beyond this, the environmental toll of food waste also manifests in freshwater contamination and a spike in overall energy usage.
Launched in 2015 in Copenhagen, the idea behind Too Good To Go was sparked by the realization of the food wastage from buffets. This concept rapidly evolved to include all kinds of meals from other food service providers, such as bakeries, cafes, and hotels. Today, Too Good To Go is an international platform limiting food waste by connecting users with local eateries and grocery stores globally. Users can pick up Surprise Bags of food, a mix of fresh, unsold food, at a range of local eateries for a fraction of the cost.
According to the app’s founders, the vision goes beyond offering amazing food at a bargain. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the balance of demand, supply, and sustainability. The team advocates that contrary to popular belief, food waste doesn’t necessarily have to be an inevitable downside of running a food business—we shouldn’t assume food has to end up in a landfill at some point. With each surprise bag that Too Good To Go sells, users become more conscious of the broader implications of food waste on society and the planet and how they can make a difference by using the app.
The artists affected by the ongoing writers’ strike in Hollywood have particularly felt the app’s social impact. Ryan Grassmeyer, an actor and writer based in Los Angeles, is one of the satisfied users who’ve expressed gratitude for an app that helps them cut food costs during this challenging season. The team’s ultimate goal is to amplify the app’s social and environmental impact within the next few years.
Too Good To Go’s approach empowers everyone to participate in this fight. With its substantial presence in over 17 countries, the platform saves over 250,000 meals daily and 2 meals per second. More than 50,000 restaurants and grocery stores use the platform to sell their surplus food, like Alfred Coffee, Esco’s Pizza, Mochinut-Melrose, Stark’s Hot Chicken, and other local LA businesses on the Too Good To Go App. The app has been downloaded more than 25 million times, and together, partners and users saved more than 61 million meals. After a successful LA launch, the brand is expanding further to SoCal, including Monterrey, Santa Barbara, and San Jose, along with other markets across the U.S.
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