With Canada’s mounting food waste weighing in at 56.5-million tonnes of CO2 each year, Victoria eateries have stepped up to the plate to help lighten the load with an innovative app.
Already making waves in 17 countries and over 20 Canadian cities, Too Good To Go is an app that has found its newest home in Victoria as of May 4.
“We’re a consumer app that connects consumers with stores that have surplus food left at the end of the day,” Sam Kashani, director for Canada for Too Good To Go told CHEK News.
“So consumers can download our free app and discover their local neighbourhood and reserve what we call a surprise bag. A surprise bag essentially is surplus food that a store has left and consumers can go pick that up for 1/3 of the price.”
Kashani says the model is a win-win-win for businesses, consumers, and the environment.
“Consumers win because they get food at 1/3 of the price. The businesses win because they managed to drive incremental traffic and generate incremental revenue from food that they otherwise would have thrown out,” he said.
“And lastly, the planet wins because we stopped wasting perfectly healthy, delicious food, and obviously having the harmful effects that we know food waste has on the environment.”
According to a 2019 report by Second Harvest, an Ontario-based firm studying food waste, in Canada food waste creates 56.5 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
READ MORE: More than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, report says
Kashani says any business that produces food is invited to sign up and start selling food that would otherwise go to waste.
My Way Bikery is one of the Victoria businesses signed up for the app, and the owners say so far it has been a positive experience.
“The first day that we signed up, we got onto the app, we sold a bag within an hour. People are extremely excited, they’re excited to try something new at a lower price point, because our first point is kind of high,” said Leah Appel. “So people who wouldn’t usually try our stuff, maybe it’s more in reach for them.”
Moshe Appel says an additional benefit of using the app is that some customers are learning about the bakery for the first time in searching for deals.
“We’ve had a couple of people show up and go ‘Oh, I didn’t even know that this was here,'” Moshe said. “And then we can introduce ourselves.”
In terms of cost split, both the Moshe’s and Kashani say the majority of the money goes to the business.
My Way Bikery sets out surprise bags with $25 worth of product that they sell for $8. The bakery gets $6 of that, and Too Good To Go gets $2.
Leah says even after using the app for just a few days, she plans to use it for the long-term.
“There’s literally zero drawback. Everything that we give them is either going to go to the freezer, or go to the garbage anyway,” Leah said. “We’re recuperating some money, we’re getting publicity, we’re helping the environment.”