A new app in Edmonton aims to help save food waste and get meals into the hands of hungry customers for a cheaper price.
Too Good To Go is a food rescue cellphone app that allows restaurants to list food items — usually surplus items that won’t be able to be sold before the end of the day — for a lower price. It officially launched in Edmonton on May 18.
Sam Kashani, the manager of Canadian operations for Too Good To Go, said that the local companies, local consumers, and the planet are all able to “win” with the model.
“Essentially everything on our app is one-third of the regular price,” he said. “And more importantly, being a social impact company, the planet wins, because we rescue food that is perfectly edible and doesn’t end up in the trash.”
Over 100 businesses — mainly restaurants and convenience stores — have joined the app already in Edmonton. One of those businesses is Neo Juicery.
“Our food waste is essentially any juice that hasn’t sold and where it’s on its last day,” said Neo Juicery co-founder Kareema Batal. “People will get that surprise bag of a variety of juices that we make.”
There’s no cost to use the app other than paying for the food, which is then picked up directly by the customer at the business.
The listings available in Edmonton are “surprise bag” or “prepared food,” meaning customers won’t necessarily be able to pick what they receive from each restaurant.
Batal said that the idea behind the app has created more opportunities for her business to further reduce its waste.
“When we’re juicing, there’s always a little bit of a yield difference at the end of each production run,” she said. “Because sometimes produce is a little bit juicier than other times.
“So there’s 10 ml to 50 ml per juice that we end up making extra of and we can’t really fill a bottle with that,” Batal said.
“So now we’ve been able to combine that into like a cocktail, a surprise cocktail every time … that’s a product we’ve been able to offer exclusively in the magic bags with Too Good To Go.”
Edmonton will be the sixth Canadian city that Too Good To Go runs in, along with Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec City.
According to the company, it has helped more than 2,500 businesses save almost hundreds of thousands of meals from the garbage can since it launched in summer 2021.
“In Canada to date we’ve saved over 400,000 meals,” Kashani said.
“That’s crazy to think about. That 400,000 meals that otherwise would have ended up in the trash.”
Kashani said he expects that Edmonton will see additional restaurants join the app in the coming weeks.
Flashfood, which aims to help customers connect with cost-saving food that may be close to expiry from grocery stores, is a similar app that has been running in the Edmonton area since 2019.