This week I placed my first order with ‘Too Good To Go’.
Too Good To Go is an app created by Danish entrepreneurs working towards reducing food waste. it is currently available in 12 countries including The Netherlands. Items which a restaurant, supermarket or other store can no longer sell are offered instead to users of the app at a considerably reduced price. Users log on to see what is available, buy a ‘Magic Box’ which they pay for online and then collect it at the time specified.
The items purchased are called a ‘Magic Box’ because the contents are not known in advance. The food included will be a mix of what the establishment has left and were unable to sell. Participants of the scheme include supermarkets such as Jumbo, Spar, Albert Heijn and Vomar as well as organic stores like Markt and Ekoplaza. Several bakeries, smaller grocers and restaurants also participate as well as Shell garages and flower shops. A number of hotels give away items left from for instance their breakfast buffets.
Too Good To Go is a great idea so you may wonder why this is only my first purchase. The issue for me is that I am vegan and the majority of outlets also sell meat, fish or dairy products which are of no interest to me. The founder explained at a presentation that because everything is last minute their partners cannot easily predict what will be in the box. Unless you buy from a vegan store, there is a high chance that not all the contents will be vegan. Too Good To Go does allow you to mark your favourites. Vegan outlets participating include both branches of vegan supermarket and cafe Vegabond, restaurants Mooshka and Spirit, Juice Brothers, several flower shops and some fresh fruit and vegetable stalls.
My first order was a box was from Daily Fresh on Haarlemmerstraat 5 for EUR 4.49. This could be collected between 1500-2130 hours the day after placing my order. Having looked at their website I expected either fresh vegetables and fruit or smoothies. I got lentil and chick- pea salad served with roasted sweet potato fries. The salad was definitely more than one portion, and still good to eat the following day. Daily Fresh also received further income from me buying fruit from them that I would not have done otherwise if I had not been in their store collecting the items.
The following day I ordered from Vegabond on de Clerqstraat. This one cost EUR 4.99, and could be collected the next day between 1900-2000 hours. I received a spinach and tofu pastry with 3 lettuce hearts in dressing plus 3 pieces of chocolate brownie. The savory part was only one meal, but the brownie was too rich to eat all at once.
Too Good To Go has provided me with 2 enjoyable and different boxes. These were not meals I would necessarily have bought at full price, but much better value than if for instance I had bought an ordinary take-out. It also gives a good feeling that you are buying something would otherwise have been thrown away. Although it still uses resources, I appreciated that Vegabond packaged my items in paper rather than single-use plastic though the containers from Daily Fresh do seal and are solid enough to be reused. The rules were slightly different in both shops. Daily Fresh wanted me to swipe that I had collected the box myself, whilst Vegabond prefer to do it for you so they can check the screen. The collection times for Vegabond were also a bit too restrictive for me since I can only buy from them if I know for sure that I don’t have plans the following day. For me as a vegan, it is a shame that there are so few options available but this could of course change if more restaurants and stores join the scheme. If I have meat egg, dairy and fish eating guests visit, they may be forced to try from other outlets.