New surplus food takeaway service launches in Manchester

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Too Good To Go is a new social enterprise dedicated to cutting the amount of food wasted by restaurants launched in Manchester recently

It’s an app which connects restaurants, cafes, bakeries and other eateries which have surplus food, to customers who can pre-order it for collection before they close – at up to a 90% discount.

Restaurants, portions available and prices are listed on the app and the customer then makes an order, presents a receipt at the designated pick up time and fills an eco-friendly Too Good To Go biodegradable takeaway box with the food on offer.

TGTG has saved 8,000 meals from heading to landfill since launching in Brighton earlier this year.

When I loaded the app, the first thing I noticed was that there’s no guarantee of what you’re getting. If the trader’s having a slow day, you might get a feast, but there are no set items. You get a list of what you can expect from your chosen eatery, you pay your money, then go to collect your surprise hamper between the hours set – usually towards the close of play or busy periods.

With more sign-ups in London, the options for Mancunians are still somewhat sparse at the moment. Restaurants and eateries signed up to the service so far include Foundation Coffee House, China Buffet, Efes Taverna, and Red Hot World Buffet.  Having already had an indulgent lunch, I plumped for Foundation Coffee House.

I was intrigued to see what they’d offer for my humble £2, since coffee isn’t really something that goes to waste in these joints. Lo and behold, I turned up at 5.30pm brandishing my digital receipt and received a lovely, sticky pastry and a green, raw, health drink.

On the face of it, did I really want a pastry and a juice? That’s not the point. The scheme works. With more cafés and restaurants on board, as long as you’re not overly fussy, there’s the opportunity to pick up some food at a relatively low price, reduce waste and the eatery gets to cover its costs – if not actually making a little bit of money.

Given this is fairly new to Manchester and I can’t imagine Foundation are inundated with users, they dealt with this request fairly swiftly, eyeing the counter for what looks like it might not make it to the next morning. The food isn’t on the turn, but in trendy NQ cafes, last night’s pastries don’t usually cut the mustard.

The result is win-win. Customers contribute to reducing unnecessary landfill and enjoy quality food at an affordable price, whilst restaurants ensure that food ends up with customers, reduce unnecessary food waste, and turn surplus food into revenue for their business.

As well as cutting down waste to help the environment, the TGTG team have integrated a ‘Pay-It-Forward’ scheme into the app, allowing users to donate meals to those in need for as little as £1.

Millions of tonnes of food are thrown away in the UK every year. We’re the worst in Europe for it. For £2 – £3.80 you can get restaurant-quality food for less. If you’re an iOS or Android user you can simply pay with your card and collect the food later that day. Simple. Nag your favourite restaurant to sign up and reap the rewards.

Download the app now #tastenotwaste

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