Food Waste

How an app is helping Bristol businesses team up with locals to fight food waste

By Melissa Meakins

Melissa Meakins

The Too Good To Go food waste app is used by Bristol businesses such as The Bristol Loaf and Bosco Pizzeria, as well as national chains in the city such as Morrisons and Costa Coffee to prevent food waste. Too Good To Go’s Regional Lead for the South West and Wales, Melissa Meakins, calls on food businesses and the citizens of Bristol to use such apps to fight food waste.

When was the last time you saw a supermarket worker putting fresh produce in the bin? Or a cafe stocked with unsold cakes at the end of the shift? Every day, food doesn’t sell in time in businesses all over Bristol. 

It happens in all food businesses – from local bakeries to industrial suppliers – and there can be lots of different reasons for it, from an unexplained dip in customers, meaning a café is left with a handful of unsold pastries, to an unexpected restaurant closure, meaning a cheese supplier is left with tonnes of unused cheese. But the risk is the same: when food doesn’t sell in time, there’s a good chance it will go to waste, even if it’s still perfectly edible.

And that’s a big problem. 

Globally, a third of food produced for human consumption is wasted, and climate scientists have said this is one of the biggest threats to our planet. 

After all, when food goes to landfill, it produces methane – a greenhouse gas 27 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But that’s not the only problem: when food gets wasted, it’s not just the food we waste – it’s everything that went into producing it, like water, energy and transportation, putting needless strain on our earth.

The Too Good To Go app was created to come to the rescue of this food, and put an end to the damage it does to our planet.

Too Good To Go bag

How it works is simple: businesses list their unsold food on the app at the end of each shift. Local users browse the app to see what’s available, buy food that tickles their fancy, then pick it up from the business at the allocated time. 

It means businesses don’t have to waste anything, and customers get delicious food for a great price. Since 2016, our users have saved more than 2.8 million meals in the UK alone, and almost 100,000 from Bristol businesses like The Bristol Loaf and Bosco Pizzeria, as well as national chains like Morrisons and Costa Coffee.

The scheme has prevented more than 7000 tonnes of CO2 in the UK – the equivalent of around 31,000 return flights to Berlin.

In the past year, with the challenges the food industry has faced due to the pandemic, the formula has come to the rescue of local manufacturers and wholesalers such as Buckley & Beale. When restaurants and cafés were forced to close at the onset of COVID-19, many suppliers were left with large volumes of unsold food. Together, we were able to get that food – from gourmet chocolate, to award-winning blue cheese – into kitchen cupboards of grateful foodies. 

But we don’t plan to stop there. 

At Too Good To Go, we dream of a planet with no food waste. And considering that more than 70% of the UK’s food waste happens in the home, it means we’re going to need to team up with influential figures and organisations to change the way society thinks about food.

Our dedicated ‘Movement’ team works across all 15 countries to do exactly that, working with politicians and corporations to enact meaningful change – from making it easier to understand best before labels on mass-produced food, to campaigning for food waste to be on the agenda of city waste-prevention policies. 

Each and every food business we’re teamed up with helps us strengthen the fight against food waste. So if you have a business with unsold food, get in touch – we can have you up and running in less than five minutes. And if you want to help the fight against food waste and grab a bargain along the way, sign up to a food waste app today!

Join the conversation

So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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