Millions of tonnes of food are thrown away every year. The smartphone app, Too Good to Go (TGTG), aims to solve this problem by offering leftovers at deep discounts. App users locate offers in their vicinity, pay for them by credit card, and pick them up within specified time slots, usually within half an hour of kitchens closing.
The service, launched in Denmark by local entrepreneurs, is now in seven countries: Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, Austria, the UK, and Switzerland. After launching several months ago in a number of cities in German-speaking Switzerland, it opened for service earlier this month in Geneva. The company also has its eye on the US and plans to open soon in New York.
Their concept is a win-win say the entrepreneurs. People get cheap food, the restaurants get paid for something they would have thrown out, and the planet is spared more waste. The firm charges a fee which comes out of sales proceeds, effectively making the app free to users. According to a company post on Facebook, the fee charged in Geneva is CHF 1.50 per order.
According to 20 Minutes, the company has signed up 15 restaurants in Geneva, with 20 more set to come online soon. Judging by posts on the firm’s Facebook page, a regular stream of new restaurants are signing up in Zurich. The most recent being Bistro Amore and the Äss Bar (not a typo). TGTG has recruited an army of people to run around towns convincing restaurants to get on board.
Many of the reader comments on 20 Minutes were focused on the high undiscounted cost of the CHF 11.50 sandwich sited as an example, and the CHF 1.50 transaction charge. In theory neither of these should stand in the way of the app’s success. If a restaurant needed to it could discount down to CHF 1.50 and save on waste disposal.
The short video below explains the concept.
For some time, Swiss supermarkets have employed a similar concept. Both of the big chains, Migros and Coop, put little red discount stickers on produce that is close to its expiry date. Typically they start by tempting shoppers with 25% discounts, reserving 50% off stickers for Saturday afternoons, and for produce that expires on Sunday, when most stores are closed. If only it were possible to know which supermarkets had just applied these stickers, and to which products. Is there an app for that?