TooGoodToGo app review: A tasty way to reduce local food waste!

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What if I told you that there’s a simple app that can score you heavily discounted food from Bristol’s restaurants, food shops and cafés AND help save the planet?

Too good to be true?

Actually, no – TooGoodToGo. It’s an app that’s actually been around since June 2016: an idea that was brought to fruition by a number of tech-savvy entrepreneurs from all over Europe.

The premise is simple. Food businesses sign up and offer bags of leftover food – which can be anything from surplus bread at bakeries to meat and veg from Sunday roasts – to customers via the app, at a hefty discount. It’s a win-win situation: businesses get to reduce their food waste, make a little extra money from food that would otherwise not have been sold, and get their offering out to a potential new customer base. And members of the public get to enjoy great food at a very low cost, possibly even trying new places that they’d never visited before.

TooGoodToGo’s vision is a world with no waste, and their numbers are already impressive. They have more than 1,628 partner stores across the country, over 675,000 members of the public signed up and nearly 600,000 meals saved (I have no idea how up-to-date the stats on their website are, mind). 

Every single rescued meal, they say, saves the planet from 2.5kg of CO2 – impressive stuff. So how does it work, and what can you expect to enjoy if you use TooGoodToGo in Bristol?

How TooGoodToGo works

Quite simply, you download the app from the App Store or Google Play, and follow the instructions to register. You’ll then see a list (or a map view) of registered businesses near you – look at the list view and it’ll give you the business name, how far away it is, when the food collection window is open, whether there’s anything left, and the price (both discounted and the original).

Click on the name of a venue, and it’ll give you an idea of what you can expect to receive in what they call your “magic bag”, along with any instructions (some places require you to take your own containers). Half of the fun of TooGoodToGo is that you never know what you’re going to get on the day – it all depends on what the business has left over…

In Bristol, there’s a huge variety of businesses taking part: fresh seafood from the Clifton Seafood Company, falafels and salad from Eat A Pitta, cake from Ahh Toots, pizzas from Pizzarova, and burgers and wings from Burger Bear, to name but a few.

Completely selflessly – purely in the name of research for Bristol Bites, of course – we’ve made TooGoodToGo purchases from four different places over the last few weeks, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results.

Our TooGoodToGo experience

The first was the Mercure Holland House Hotel, whose £2.50 breakfast boxes help the hotel to avoid waste from their buffet breakfasts. When I arrived, I was given a styrofoam box to fill myself, choosing from what was left over.

On the day, it was just hot breakfast buffet food going spare (sometimes they’ll apparently have cold meats, cheeses and pastries too), so I stuffed the box full of sausages, bacon, mushrooms, eggs and hash browns – pretty good value for £2.50.

 

TooGoodToGo Bristol - Mercure Holland House

 

Next was Patisserie la Reine in Broadmead, where the princely sum of £2.99 gave me a ham and cheese croissant (which the small one enjoyed for dinner), plus a Cajun chicken panini and a cheese and mushroom toastie, which we actually saved for breakfast the next morning before a long car journey.

 

TooGoodToGo Bristol - Patisserie La Reine

 

But we’ve been most impressed with what we’ve had from two of the city’s independent bakeries. The Assembly Bakery in CARGO 2, for just £2.59, filled a bag with two cheese and bacon croissants, three sausage rolls and a mini rhubarb cake, which kept Chris in work packed lunches for a good few days.

 

TooGoodToGo Bristol - Assembly Bakery CARGO

 

And, most recently, a £3.59 spend at Hobbs House Bakery on North Street (read our full review of the bakery here) saw us head home with a pain au chocolat, a croissant, a pain aux raisins, and two huge loaves of bread – the pastries still just as good when warmed through the next morning, the bread partly eaten on the same day and the next, with the rest frozen for down the line. 

 

TooGoodToGo Bristol - Hobbs House Bakery North Street

 

Everything we’ve bought through TooGoodToGo so far has been great value for money, with the satisfaction of knowing that as well as enjoying some great local food, we’re also doing our bit (however small) to reduce the city’s food waste. If you’ve not yet signed up, do so: you’ll not only be doing good for the environment, but it might also encourage you to buy from a few new places you’ve never tried before…

To find out more about TooGoodToGo, click here.

 

 

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