In March 2020, uncertainty hit wholesalers, producers and manufacturers on a never-before-seen scale. With hospitality suddenly shut, much of the population working from home, and schools virtually empty, supply chains ruptured, leaving many warehouses full of surplus food.
Everyone had the same question: how do you find a new destination for surplus food, much of which is nearing its perishable date, when the nation’s routines are totally disrupted? Sadly, many wholesalers didn’t find an answer.
But amid the masses of food waste, there was a 180,000kg solution: many wholesalers teamed up with food-waste-fighting app Too Good To Go, carving a new direct-to-consumer route to market which put their food straight in the hands of happy customers, instead of the bin.
Too Good To Go operates as the world’s largest marketplace for surplus food, partnering with more than 60,000 businesses across Europe and the US. It’s a free app, with 4 million users in the UK alone. Before 2020, it worked mainly with shops and restaurants – they listed surplus, unsold food on the app in surprise ‘Magic Bags’, and customers would buy it and pick it up for a great price. A win-win.
Now, more than 2000 manufacturing and wholesaling businesses – including Unilever, Kraft Heinz, Carrefour, and Danone – are on board, using the app to fight industrial food waste, offset the costs of surplus products, and find new customers.
“Using our app we’re able to connect our wholesale partners with millions of consumers ready to save this surplus food from going to waste,” says Paschalis Loucaides, Too Good To Go UK Managing Director. “The flexibility of the model means we can mobilise consumers to rescue this food from anywhere – whether it’s the warehouse, the manufacturer’s trucks, or an off-site, third party location.”
Family-run food service business Dunsters Farm began using Too Good To Go in 2020, and has so far sold 300 Magic Bags. The companies’ Commercial Manager Craig Newton praises its ease-of-use.
“Finding suitable outlets to sell short-date products is very time-consuming. Too Good To Go offered a quick, easy way to access hundreds of customers at once,” he says. “Payment’s taken care of through the app, and customers pick up directly from us onsite. The ease of it means our staff are free to focus on the main part of our business, instead of worrying about wastage.”
Food waste is responsible for more than 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, so for many businesses, the ability to shrink their footprint is a major perk.
“We wanted to make sure we were playing our part in protecting the environment, and Too Good To Go seemed like the perfect option,” says Nina McKay, Purchasing Assistant at Savona Group. “Too Good To Go has also given us the ability to support the local community, and reduce our own waste. I’ve already recommended it to other companies, and I’ll continue to do so.”