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New app helps consumers find food that is 'Too Good to Go'

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With inflation causing food prices to rise, consumers are looking for deals, and a new app is offering to help people find savings at the grocery store, while helping cut down on food waste.

“Too Good to Go” has launched in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. It connects consumers with businesses who have surplus food at the end of each day.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live, Too Good to Go Country Manager Sam Kashani explained it’s all about stopping perfectly good food from ending up in the trash.

“You can open our app, discover your local neighbourhood, reserve a surprise bag and go in and pick it up at the end of the day,” he said. “Stores win because they drive incremental traffic and sell their surplus food. Consumers win because they get incredible value on our app and great food for a fraction of the price, and, more importantly, the planet wins because we save healthy food that otherwise would have been thrown out.”

According to a 2019 federal report, an estimated 20 per cent, or 11 million tonnes, of all food produced in Canada annually is wasted, ending up in a landfill or processed as organic waste.

Kashani says that the average Canadian family throws away about $1,800 worth of food every year.

“A lot of food that is perfectly edible is ending up in the trash and we’re doing something about it,” he said.

HOW IT WORKS

Too Good to Go users open the app and find an area store that is offering a “surprise bag” of food. Stores don’t always know what will be left over at the end of the day, the app says, so what you get will depend on what’s left.

“It could be a bag of baked goods or a prepared meal,” Kashani explains. “We categorize all of our bags because we know businesses don’t know exactly what’s going to be left at the end of the day. That category allows the consumers to know roughly what they’re getting.”

Once a bag is booked, the customer goes during the defined pick-up window and buys the surplus food at a third of the price.

“What we’ve seen over the last two to six months is continued growth in inflation and everyone’s trying to make their dollars go a bit further,” Kashani said. “The fact that you can get food on our platform for one-third of the price, that’s perfectly healthy, edible food; we’ve seen a huge uptick in our users and really continue to encourage folks in Ottawa to use the platform because it’s great value and you’re actually doing good at the same time to reduce food waste.”

Too Good to Go says it has more than 70 local business partners, including Maverick's Donuts, The Cupcake Lounge, Petites Gamines, and Nu Grocery.

Valerie Leloup, co-founder of Nu Grocery, said this app was a perfect fit for her business.

“Nu Grocery is a zero-waste grocery store,” she explained. “We have two locations: one in Hintonburg and one in Old Ottawa East. Our mission is to eliminate waste. We focus mainly on packaging waste, by inviting customers to come to our store with their own containers.”

Leloup said the store already has measures in place to curb waste but Too Good to Go helps reduce that waste even further.

“On Mondays, we post on the app our surplus fruits and veggies,” Leloup said. “There’s nothing wrong with them, but they don’t meet the aesthetic standards of the industry.”

Leloup said just being on the app brought people in for surprise bags and she’s hopeful more people will get on board.

“I’m hoping that it will be very successful and a great complement to what we already do to curb waste,” she said. 

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