This New App Reduces Food Waste While Supporting Local Businesses

too good to go food app

Sorry, Postmates—there’s a new food pick-up app in town and it’s dedicated to solving the global food crisis while helping customers and restaurant owners. Here’s what you need to know about this exciting new app. 

Too Good To Go allows users to order directly from NYC restaurants that have a surplus of meals or products at the end of the day that would otherwise be disposed of. For one-third of the usual price, users can choose a local restaurant or market via the (totally free) app, order a Surprise Bag and pick it up on-site during an allotted time slot (you can order up to one day ahead). The Surprise Bag is exactly that—a surprise! Users can expect every bag to be different, depending on what’s leftover from that day, but you won’t know what’s in it until you pick it up.

Why? Because 40 percent of food is wasted in the US—yes, seriously. Food waste is also the third largest cause of pollution in the world, making up 8 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. So if you’re down to save the planet and you aren’t too picky about what you’re eating for dinner (or dessert), Too Good To Go is just the ticket. In fact, it’s especially important in New York. 

“As a city, we actually produce enough food waste on an annual basis to fill the Empire State Building 32 times,” Claire Oliverson, head of marketing at Too Good To Go, told NBC New York. “We’ve really seen with COVID that more food is being wasted than ever.”

Luckily, since the app came to the five boroughs in September 2020, they’ve partnered with over 500 food sellers—including sushi shops, grocery stores, cafes and more—and have saved over 70,000 meals from going to waste in the Big Apple alone. Here are a few past Surprise Bags from some of our favorite NYC spots:

  • Murray's Cheese ($3.99, originally $12): A fresh ball of mozzarella, a wheel of creamy brie and a bag of rosemary and olive oil flatbreads for the cheeseboard of your dreams. 
  • Black Seed Bagels ($4.99, originally $15): An assortment of five honey-boiled and wood-fired bagels, paired with a serving of scallion cream cheese spread.
  • Wasabi Sushi ($5.99, originally $18): One Wasabi classic set (salmon avocado roll, salmon nigiri and seaweed salad) and one tuna salad onigiri. 

I checked out some partner shops near me and at IC Brooklyn, a neighborhood cafe, I got one glazed donut, one brownie, one slice of oreo cheesecake and one slice of caramel cheesecake all for $3.99. Yum. (Note: One of the other spots I tried—Little Skips in Bushwick—canceled my Surprise Bag order shortly before pickup because they no longer had a surplus of food which was a little annoying, however, I did receive a full refund for my order.) 

If you’re hesitant about the surprise, the app has an awesome rating feature that allows users to rate past surprise bags based on the amount and selection of food, the value and flavor of the food, how friendly the staff was, and more. And for only a few bucks, you can feel good about giving back to your community while getting a tasty treat. 
Too Good To Go is also available in D.C., Philadelphia, New Jersey, Boston, and has plans to expand into San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and other major cities on the West Coast by the end of 2021. The app is available to download for iOS and Androids, so get to downloading and ending the global food crisis!

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purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Quinn Fish is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer covering all things New York City, from the tastiest espresso martinis to the best amusement parks to the perfect weekend getaways...