'Too Good To Go' app aims to combat food waste while offering cheap meals in LA

Phillip Palmer Image
Friday, December 16, 2022
'Too Good To Go' app combats food waste while offering cheap meals
Want to save the planet while saving money on your next meal? Too Good to Go connects hungry customers with food that otherwise would end up in the trash.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Want to save the planet while saving money on your next meal? Too Good to Go is an app trying to be part of the solution to the food waste problem by selling it to you before it's thrown away.

Globally, more than one-third of food is wasted. In fact, 10% of greenhouse gasses are due to decomposing food. Airplane travel is only 1% of greenhouse gases, so this is the easiest way for consumers to have a positive environmental impact -- where it can be repeatable.

"They're getting a great deal. They're getting delicious food and helping the environment," said Chris MacAulay, the managing director for Too Good To Go in the United States.

So, how does it work? Customers search on the app and pre-pay for the food at one-third of the retail price. It's a "surprise bag" of items that need to be sold soon, but it's from a business you know that wants to increase their customer base, so you are getting food they want you to try.

MacAulay explains how it helps a business, "That push-pull of availability versus making too much is really one of the problems that we're solving here, and so, you're getting the food that they serve that they know is great and you're just getting it and keeping it from going in the trash."

Too Good To Go has partnerships with over 400 local businesses in the L.A. area. Businesses like Lassen's Natural Foods don't see this as a money maker, but a difference maker.

For Earth Month, ABC7 tracked down people finding solutions to the problems facing our planet, including the urgent need for environmental justice, sustainability and climate solutions.

According to Raymond Martherus, the marketing director at Lassen's Natural Foods, "It's not really a profit-making proposition. It's us doing good for the environment as well as making sure that we have the right products that are not out of code on our shelves, and then possibly making a little bit of money at the end of it."

Surprise Bags generally run between four and six dollars. Customers set a pick-up time that is usually near the end of a business day, and then wait for the culinary surprise from a coffee shop like Alfred's Coffee in Studio City or your favorite local pizzeria.

For a company that began in Europe seven years ago, there is a worldwide benefit when food doesn't end up in the landfill.

"We have over 800 million people who are food insecure, and yet, we have businesses throwing food into the trash. So, this is a chance for us to start to connect those dots and reallocate that supply in a really meaningful way," MacAulay said.

Los Angeles came online in September with plans in place to continue expansion.