Food-waste app Too Good to Go prioritises independents

Many of the retailers joining the scheme belong to symbol groups, but some independent stores are also on board

Too Good to Go

Food-waste app Too Good To Go has revealed plans to work more closely with independent retailers this year.

UK managing director Paschalis Loucaides told Better Retailing priortising convenience store owners “is an absolute focus”.

The app, intended to help retailers reduce food waste, launched in 2016 and is available across the entire country. Nearly 8,000 businesses are currently signed up to the service, with independent stores making up 891 of the sites.

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Customers can log on and search their local area for a food business. Once a store is selected, they are given the option to buy a ‘magic bag’ – a mystery package made up of unknown items for less than a third of the original price.

They are also given a time window for when they must collect, which is set by the business. Customers pay via the app and are required to show their receipt in store to get their bag.

Founder Jamie Crummie previously said: “We invented the magic bag concept because it’s impossible for businesses to predict exactly what food will be left over.”

A large proportion of convenience retailers signed up belong to symbol groups, but several independent stores are also involved.

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“We’ve made a really great start in encouraging convenience stores to take part, but we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “The engagement from independents has been superb. These people live and breathe their businesses, and we see them wanting to engage and be the heart of their communities by cutting food waste.”

The app requires an annual cost of £39 per year and an admin fee of £1.09 per box. However, there is no upfront payment, and the annual cost is gradually taken out of each purchase.

No extra equipment is needed, as every part of the service can be managed from a laptop, tablet or phone with internet connection.

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“We expect retailers to make the cost back in a week or two of working with us,” said Loucaides. “We are also a profit-for-purpose business, so everything we generate goes back into the business to expand and grow.”

After success in recruiting more small stores in the last six months, Too Good To Go has now made recruiting more independent stores one of its priorities.

“My grandparents ran a convenience store in London, so I understand what it means to be a convenience store retailer,” said Loucaides. “Its important for us to be in those stores where customers are saving food waste – we want to be a part of the community, rather than just an app on a phone.”

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In an effort to grow the number of stores, a dedicated team has been set up to directly recruit independent retailers.

“We have a team who looks after the independent side of things,” said Loucaides. “Before the pandemic they would walk the high streets drumming up interest, but now they do most of it virtually.”

When asked what benefits the app brings to stores, Loucaides said: “For retailers, using the app brings customers to the door and helps drive footfall. It also minimises food waste overall and is important for those who care about looking after the planet.”

Last month, Too Good To Go partnered with 26 brands to launch its latest ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign.

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The campaign will see brands switching products from ‘use by’ to ‘best before’ labels where appropriate, as well as giving on-pack reminders to consumers to use their senses to decide whether to eat food past its best-before date.

“A third of all food produced is waste, and a lot of that is wasted along the supply chain,” said Loucaides. “A big part of that takes place in retail because there are a lot of rules that have to be followed.”

Among the partners so far are Arla (Cravendale), Bel Group (The Laughing Cow), Danone (Danone, Actimel) and Nestlé.

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Over the next three months, Too Good To Go said it expects to have nearly one billion products featuring the new labelling on shelves.

“We’ve already gone live with the signage on some of the products, so retailers who stock those brands should be receiving them now, or very soon,” said Loucaides.

If you are interested in signing your store up to the app, call RN on 020 7689 3357

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