Inflation: new app helps consumers save on food

With inflation pushing food prices up, consumers are looking for deals, and a new app offers people to save money at the grocery store while reducing food waste.

“Too Good to Go” has launched in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. It connects consumers with companies that have food surpluses at the end of the day.

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

“You can open our app, discover your neighborhood, reserve a surprise bag, and go in and pick it up at the end of the day,” he said. “Shops win because they attract more visitors and sell their surplus food. Consumers win because they get incredible value from our app and great food at a fraction of the price, and more importantly, the planet wins because we store healthy food that would otherwise have gone to waste.”

According to a 2019 federal report, an estimated 20 percent, or 11 million tons, of all food produced in Canada annually is wasted and ends up in landfills or treated as organic waste.

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste/food-loss-waste/stocktaking.html

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

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


HOW IT WORKS

Too Good to Go users open the app and find a nearby store that offers a “surprise bag” of food. Stores don’t always know what’s left at the end of the day, the app says, so what you get depends on what’s left.

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

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

“What we’ve seen in the last two to six months is continued inflation growth and everyone is trying to push their dollars a little further,” Kashani said. “That you can get food on our platform for a third of the price, that’s perfectly healthy, edible food; we’ve seen a huge increase in our users and continue to really encourage people in Ottawa to use the platform because it’s great value while doing you good 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.

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

Leloup said the store has already taken steps to curb waste, but Too Good to Go is helping to reduce that waste even further.

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

Leloup said just using the app brought people in for surprise bags and she hopes more people will get on board.

“I hope it will be very successful and be a great addition to what we’re already doing to reduce waste,” she said.

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