ORLANDO, Fla. – The Too Good To Go app debuted in Orlando Wednesday with the goal of helping to cut down on food waste in the City Beautiful while helping businesses sell their surplus food.
The app — which started in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016 — allows restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries or virtually any place that sells food to offer up “surprise bags” of their surplus food — basically, any food they would not otherwise be able to sell — for app users to purchase.
“You think about a grocery store, for example. If you walk into a grocery store, there are tons of products. There are tons of canned goods, tons of consumer packaged goods — every one of those foods has to be sold before certain days,” Sarah Soteroff, the head of Too Good Too Go’s public relations for North America. “It can’t legally be sold past that day, which creates a ton of surplus because typically that food is still perfectly good to eat.”
The app gives participating businesses the chance to sell off those items on or before their sell-by dates. However, all of the food placed in the surprise bags must meet certain standards, according to Soteroff.
“The food that they sell has to be in the same condition that it would have been in if they sold it for full price,” she said. “So, you can’t sell food scraps. You can’t sell things that have gone rotten. You can’t sell things that you wouldn’t sell in-store. Everything on the app has to be in the same condition and has to have been preserved, has to have had the same level of quality control that it would have had if it had been sold at full price.”
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Soteroff added that the app has a very robust customer feedback feature and that the company encourages people to report any issues with a supplier.
Soteroff said Too Good To Go already has 50 supplying businesses in the greater Orlando area. Some of the businesses offering up food include Jeff’s Bagel Run, Jersey Mikes, Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken and Silvas Market, among others.
“We’ll be continuously adding stores,” Soteroff said. Those stores can also continuously add different categories. So if you are grocery store, for example, maybe you have a bakery bag, maybe you have a produce bag, maybe you have a prepared food bag from your hot bar. So there’s a ton of different angles that you can add there.”
One quirk of Too Good To Go is that all of the food purchased through the app must be picked up at the supplier. There is no delivery option.
“Our goal is to reduce food waste everywhere that occurs because it has such a harsh, harsh impact on the environment,” Soteroff said. “We are a sustainability brand. We’re a registered B Corp. Our entire mission is to be sustainable and to do that, we encourage people to use transit, bike, walk — don’t drive 50 miles outside of your way to get (a surprise bag) but we will almost never do a delivery.”
Soteroff said the company hopes to continue to expand around Orlando and beyond with the goal to reach all corners of Florida.
“Check back often. We’ll add more and more stores, more and more categories, more frequency of pickup. Check it out. If there’s nothing on the app that you’d like today, there probably will be tomorrow,” she said.
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