In the 1980s, a new term emerged for the act of salvaging unused items and waste from bins, both commercial and household: dumpster diving. You might recognise it as an action from The Sims (seriously!).
This largely involved people roaming the streets, hanging outside cafes and restaurants until closing, and rifling through the bins for unused food. These intrepid food waste prospectors are still out at all hours rescuing sandwiches to this day, but not everyone has the time (or, frankly, the inclination) to do so. This is where Too Good To Go steps in.
Too Good To Go is an app that matches people with food from restaurants that’s unnecessarily going to waste. Think Tinder for tacos, Hinge for hummus, Bumble for baba ganoush. Started in 2015 in Copenhagen, the app is now reducing food waste in 15 countries across the world, from the UK to Europe and the USA, with more on the way.
By using technology to make this unwanted grub more accessible, Too Good To Go provides an innovative, and delicious, solution to a lesser-know but still massive waste problem.
We caught up with co-founder Jamie Crummie to talk food waste's effect on greenhouse gases, Best Before dates and how we can all make a difference.
Difference Makers: Hi Jamie! Tell us about your app, Too Good To go.
Jamie Crummie: Too Good To Go is the world’s largest food waste fighting app. It links up food businesses - restaurants, supermarkets, cafes, bakeries, pubs and producers - who have surplus food, with hungry consumers who buy, collect and enjoy it. All the food saved on our app is perfectly edible, it’s just that for one reason or another it hasn’t sold in time. Our app gives that food a second chance of being eaten.
Alongside our app we are driving what we call a food waste fighting movement. Here we’re looking to inspire and empower households, schools, businesses and governments to build a planet-friendly food system where food is eaten and enjoyed rather than wasted.
What first made you take notice of the food waste issue?
I first became aware of the food waste issue when I was working in events whilst at Uni. It was crazy to me that so much food goes to waste in the hospitality industry because of overproduction or external circumstances such as the weather. For example, when it suddenly rains, people don’t tend to be out and about as much and this means food businesses don’t have the customers coming through the doors that they would normally expect to see. This often leads to perfectly good food being thrown away because it either is too close to its expiry date, or because it’s no longer at its optimum quality.
Peeling potatoes creates food waste. You only need to wash them - that way you get more mash for your cash!
What inspired you to get Too Good To Go off the ground?
In my previous career in Human Rights law, I attended an event that was entirely catered for with surplus food. It was here that those earlier thoughts that I had had when working in hospitality resurfaced and I realised that there must be a better way to stop food from going to waste than picking it out of the bin.
I decided to look into how I could stop the food being thrown away in the first place and while I was coming up with the solution, I connected with some like-minded people in Copenhagen who I ended up creating Too Good To Go with.
The rest, as they say, is history!
Do you think individuals have the power to make a difference in the world?
Absolutely! Every single action taken, no matter how big or small, adds up to make a big difference, especially when it comes to tackling climate change.
That’s why fighting food waste can be so powerful because we can all do something that reduces it to have a positive impact on the planet. Whether it’s something as simple as stopping peeling potatoes or changing habits and not throwing food away because it has passed its Best Before date, all these seemingly small actions are really powerful when they are added together.
Next article: Overfishing technology