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An app that has sparked a global movement to end food waste has become popular among businesses in Guelph, Ont., and will soon expand to the Waterloo area.
So far more than 25 Guelph businesses have partnered with the To Good To Go app. The platform connects restaurants and cafes that have extra meals with customers who purchase “surprise bags,” which are filled with food for between $18 and $24. The consumer pays one third of the retail price.
Most are available near the end of business operating hours, but sometimes businesses offer bags in the morning as well.
Sam Kashani, Canadian manager of Too Good To Go, explains, “We do our best to categorize excess food into baked goods or ready meals, and users come and pick it up. So every day is a little different. “
The company launched in Denmark in 2016 and Kashani says that since entering the Canadian market in July 2021, the company has prevented more than 600,000 meals from going into the trash.
“If you only think about that quantity … the amount of surplus food [saved] Enough.”
Alexis Imola, owner of Ivory Fern Foods in Guelph, says food waste is a big pet peeve for her, so she does her best to keep excess food to a minimum.
Imola said she still joined Too Good to Go because every little bit helps.
“I don’t have a lot of food waste, but the garbage we have, like on the weekends, it’s just going to the trash. So why not let someone else be able to pick it up? Because nothing wrong with that. is,” she said.
Imola says the surprise bags she makes usually have a larger portion size than some of the bowls offered on the menu.
At Debar Dessert Café, also in Guelph, owner Rick Green says he doesn’t really have much food to waste by the end of the day, but when he was approached by Kashani to join the movement, he took the idea. But jumped.
“There are a lot of people around the corner living in government-aided buildings who might not be able to buy groceries,” he said. “So this app is really cool.”
On average, DeBar serves up two surprise bags a day, says Green, but that can increase to four or five over the weekend.
food waste in canada
According to a 2022 study conducted by the National Zero Waste Council in partnership with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, 63 percent of the food thrown away by Canadians could be eaten.
That amounts to 140 kilograms of wasted food per year for the average Canadian household – at a cost of more than $1,300 per year.
Nationally, more than 2 million tons of edible food is wasted each year. Which is more than 20 billion dollars.
Mike von Masso, a food economist at the University of Guelph, says apps like Too Good To Go are great at turning foodies toward foodies but “is it a magic bullet that’s going to take away restaurant food waste? Is it? No.”
Von Masso says that’s because there are many types of food waste in restaurants, not all of which would be suitable for food salvage — such as spoiled food, unused food that isn’t aesthetically pleasing, or production waste.
The Morning Edition – KW7:44See how this app is putting money back in the pockets of Canadians while saving the planet.
“We’re not going to come up with something that makes a difference,” he said, adding that he’s been getting positive signals from restaurants recently when it comes to food waste.
“I think restaurants are paying more attention to what they throw away and what they do. So my guess is that restaurants are reducing food waste as well.”
According to Too Good to Go, in one year the company has saved Canadians more than $7 million by saving food that would have otherwise been wasted.