App sells leftovers from restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores to help reduce food waste

Surging food prices have prompted many people to search for ways to cut costs, and some shoppers are finding deals through an app that also aims to reduce food waste.

Too Good To Go connects customers with grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries that sell surplus food left at the end of the day at deep discounts.

Consumers can use the app’s map feature to discover participating businesses, go in during a defined pickup window and purchase a so-called “surprise bag” of leftovers.

Too Good to Go spokesperson Sarah Soteroff says surprise bags range in price from about $4 to $12 but contain items that would previously have sold for about triple the price.

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada announced that November’s inflation rate was 6.8 per cent, down from 6.9 per cent in October and September. Grocery costs rose 11.4 per cent annually in November, up from 11 per cent in October. 

Shabina Dewji, a local blogger, is one of Too Good To Go‘s many users, and says she has been saving money from buying leftovers.

“I saw lettuce for $11 – that’s insane,” she said. “I’ve never paid that much for lettuce in my life.

“I am doing more of the ‘what’s on sale, where is it cheaper, where can I get deals?’”

Dewji says she tried a “surprise bag” from a grocery store first.

“I was surprised at how good the quality was,” she said. “I think I paid $5 for a bag full of vegetables, and they were fresh, they were great.”

“I was like, ‘this is awesome. I’m saving the environment, food waste, and I’m saving money.’”

Dewji says she’s also had a good experience getting bags of leftovers from several bakeries and restaurants.

The app launched in Calgary earlier this year.

In its first six months, Too Good To Go says food diverted from local landfills adds up to the height of 61 Calgary Towers.

“In Calgary specifically, we’ve saved more than 33,000 meals from 180 food businesses,” Soteroff said.

One Calgary business taking part is Righteous Gelato.

“We’re diverting food waste away from landfills and making sure that people have an opportunity to try the product when maybe it’s a bit inaccessible based on price,” said owner James Boettcher.

Dewji says reduced prices have encouraged her to support local businesses she hadn’t tried before, and on average she uses the app once a week.

“I look at what the restaurant is selling in general, and then if I like 90% of it, I’ll buy it.”

Dewji says there is usually enough food to share, save or freeze.

“Now I’m trying to repurpose my leftovers,” she said.

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