This app lets you buy unsold food that restaurants would have wasted
Millions of tonnes of food are thrown away in the UK every year, with Britain wasting more than any other European country.
Now a group of entrepreneurs have built an app that they hope will cut down on waste by allowing restaurants to sell food that they otherwise would have thrown away at knock-down prices.
Too Good To Go, an app that launched in several UK cities this year and is now arriving in London, shows users local restaurants that are willing to sell high-quality dishes for between £2 and £3.80 – often less than half the normal price.
Users of the iOS and Android app pay with a credit card and collect food from the restaurant during a time slot, which is often as a café closes, or after lunch or dinner.
The food on display, while perfectly edible, would otherwise have contributed to the estimated 15 million tonnes of produce disposed of in the UK every year.
At the same time as saving on waste, Too Good To Go says the app can generate extra revenue for restaurants, although it says that cutting down on waste is often seen as a bigger priority.
The app’s co-founder Chris Wilson told the Evening Standard that it had signed up 95 restaurants in London, although most of them were smaller, independent ones.
“Most of the places tend to be independent or just small chains because it is really hard to crack the big companies,” he said.
“It is the bigger chains that have the large amounts of food waste but it is hard to even speak to the right people there.”
The app, invented by a group of friends when in Denmark who returned to the UK to launch it, has already been embraced in Brighton, Leeds, London and Manchester.
It takes a fee from restaurants for each sale, although it says it is not focused on making big profits and reinvests income into expanding the project.
Although households account for the vast majority of thrown away food, restaurants throw away around 600,000 tonnes of food a year, according to a 2010 report.
Last week, Italy adopted a new law to cut food waste that simplifies the donation of excess food.