Too Good To Go App’s surprising way to help minimize food waste in Toronto

Toronto is the first city in Canada to join the global app, Too Good To Go. In efforts to help fight food waste we can now order  ‘Surprise Bags’ of surplus food at the end of each day from some of our favourite local restaurants, cafes and food shops.

The process is simple. Download the free app onto your phone (iOS download and Google Play)and scan through the daily offerings. There are over 100 local businesses already signed up on the service including Fresh City, Greenhouse, Eataly, Summerhill Market, Pantry by Food Dudes, and The Healthy Butcher. These partners were selected because of their individual commitment to sustainable practices and compliment their existing commitment to help limit food waste in their production and distribution streams.

Each participating business lets you know how many “surprise bags” are available to be reserved. When I check this morning prices were mostly between $5.99 to $7.99 which turns out to be 1/3 of the actual retail value.  Users will also be able to see pick up time availabilities before committing. Most are end of day but a few were offered in the mornings as well (daily baked goods and fresh produce are common). You’ll want to check daily for what’s available.

You can personalize preferences within the app to set your favourite shops and restaurants and distance of what’s being offered from where you are.

Why this works? For foodies who “surprise” it’s like a gift in itself of high quality foods. For the businesses it allows them more flexibility to save food, including prepared foods and beverages, that would otherwise go to waste.

According to Too Good To Go, Canada is one of the leading contributors to food waste in the world, ranking third in this avoidable issue, ahead of the United States. More than 50 per cent of all food produced in Canada goes to waste, higher than the global average.

No surprise dining and food shopping have been fluctuating during the pandemic as well. It’s been a difficult time for local businesses to move along side consumer (and local government) shifts in how we shop and dine and the app is an innovative way to help as we all adjust our “normal”.

What about the food banks in the city?  Too Good To Go has partnered with the Daily Food Bank to support their existing work in the food insecurity space. An in-app donation feature will allow customers select ways to contribute to the organization’s fight against hunger in the city.

Too Good To Go is already active in 15 international markets with over 40 million active users. Toronto’s launch will be followed by expansion into other Canadian markets in coming months.

Some interesting food waste in Canada facts*

  • More than 50 per cent of all food produced in Canada is wasted – the weight of 273 CN Towers, and the equivalent weight of 736,000 TTC streetcars
  • The amount of food wasted is enough to feed every Canadian for five months
  • This food waste equates to 35.5 million tons/year
  • 11.2 million tons of this are still perfectly edible and avoidable
  • In Toronto, alone, single family households throw out about 441lbs each year

*source: Too Good To Go

**Note: lead in photo shows a sampling of some of the participating local businesses.


About Sonya Davidson 932 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.