Reducing food waste is a massive, complicated, and overwhelming undertaking for one person. Meet the app that helps – by feeding you delicious restaurant food.
In this vast, complex world, trying to solve our planet's pressing environmental crises can make a person feel pretty powerless. Your day is packed so full of all the things you need to take care of in your own personal eco-system that just thinking about extending that concern to the entire planet can be exhausting. Activism can feel like a mighty big bite to chew off, but thanks to a new "food rescuing" app, you can do your part to reduce food waste, landfill space, and methane gas production. And all you have to do is eat take-out from some of your favorite local restaurants.
Food waste is one of the world's biggest ecological concerns. About 1.3 billion tons (or one third) of food produced is wasted every year. That food takes up roughly 30% of the world’s agricultural land area. In the US, food waste is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Yikes.
All of that food waste isn't good for the planet, nor is it good for our pocketbooks. According to the UN's Food & Agriculture Organization, the direct economic cost of food loss and food waste of agricultural products (excluding fish and seafood) is about $750B. The annual value of food wasted globally is about $1 trillion.
What Companies Are Doing About Food Waste
This loss hasn't gone unnoticed by most major companies. Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report has been rolling out plans for a more environmentally-friendly business model for years now, including initiatives to integrate more non-dairy milk options and encouraging customers to reuse their cups.
Meanwhile, fast food companies are paying attention as well. McDonalds (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report, for instance has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and partnered with Beyond Meat (BYND) - Get Beyond Meat Inc. Report to offer greener burgers. Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC, all owned by Yum! Brands (YUM) - Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report, are introducing their own energy-saving meat alternatives or integrating AI operations management.
Despite all of these major corporate roll-outs, not many companies have found a functional solution to excess food waste at the end of the day. Thanks to food rescue app Too Good to Go, food peddlers may have a better way to cut down on what they have to throw out each night.
What is Too Good to Go?
This handy little app was born in 2016, when several European entrepreneurs set out to find a functional, easy way to reduce food waste. The idea was simple: connect hungry users to food providers who had perfectly good but excess food products. Selling this food at a discounted price gave customers even more incentive to use the service, and the additional income allowed vendors to recoup some of the sunk costs associated with food waste.
"Food waste is a huge, complicated issue that spans the globe, and we know that by working alone, we can only achieve so much. But we also know this: when one positive idea sparks another, and then that positivity is imprinted on tens, hundreds, millions of minds, that’s when you can create movement. That helped us arrive at our ultimate mission: to inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste together,” Too Good to Go CEO Mette Lykke says on the company's website.
The app is incredibly straightforward -- just use location search tools to find food near you in need of rescuing! In September 2020, Too Good to Go expanded to the U.S. Have you checked to see if TGTG is in your neighborhood yet?
Okay, But Is It Actually Sustainable?
In the era of greenwashing, it's always important to do your due diligence when supporting an environmental organization or initiative. So if you're wondering "does this actually work?", the good news is that it does.
Too Good to Go is in the business of publishing its impact report in an effort to show just how much good its restaurant surprise-bags are doing. After the app's release, the first 4 months saw 145,000+ Americans saved over 44,000 meals from the trash.
In 2021, that number has quickly grown to more than one million Americans and over 575,000 meals rescued in less than a year. The company has also committed to continuing its stance as a carbon neutral company since 2020. Opening the service to Sweden and the U.S. in 2020 contributed to the company's more than 28M meals saved -- a 49% increase in meals from the year before.
Good To Go is far from the only food waste app out there, too. Olio is an app that allows you to connect with neighbors to give away food and household items, while Food Rescue Us helps transfer food from restaurants and groceries to social services agencies. Flashfood and FoodForAll also allow people to buy foods at a steep discount that would normally be thrown away at the end of the day.
By helping businesses and consumers be more conscious of food waste, food waste apps are also quietly putting money back into the pockets of everyone involved. This effort only promises to grow with each day -- and it's certainly worth keeping an eye on as we look toward the future.meat fish seafood milk groceries burgers burger non-dairy