“It blew up a light bulb,” she told The Globe. âThis is something that could happen every night at any local food store. “
Basch said she started partnering with like-minded entrepreneurs and quickly co-founded To Good To Go, a new app (available for iOS in the Apple Store and on Google Play for Android) that connects consumers at surplus restaurants, bakeries, cafes and grocery stores at the end of each working day, ensuring that unsold food is not wasted. The app has just been launched in Providence.
Q: How does the app work?
Basch: Consumers download the app, browse nearby participating locations, reserve, and pay for a âGoodie Bagâ to collect. Then they will go to the store during the pickup window, depending on the choice and closing time of each location. The content of each “Surprise Bag” varies daily and users of the app can expect to get a range of products at one-third of the retail value: a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables, three slices of pizza or a few. extra sushi rolls, a pint of gelato, or an assortment of pastries.
Q: From your perspective, how serious is the food waste problem in the United States?
Basch: [About] In the United States, 40 percent of edible food is wasted, and as the latest IPCC report points out, food waste contributes 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States. The need to make the link between food waste and climate change is more crucial than ever. In fact, Project Drawdown ranks reducing food waste as the best way to tackle climate change. Saving a single meal with the Too Good To Go app cuts the carbon footprint of charging a smartphone 422 times, while supporting local businesses at the same time.
Q: What markets are you in? And why did you choose these markets?
Basch: We are present in 12 American markets, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Jersey City, Portland, Austin, Baltimore and now Providence. We chose these cities based on a number of factors – bigger, denser cities to start with, in order to have the greatest impact possible.
Six years after its creation, we are present in 17 countries and have saved more than 107 million meals thanks to this ultra simple concept.
Q: What about the Providence market that stood out for you?
Basch: Providence has always been one of the top cities on our radar, given its bustling food scene and environmentally conscious locals, especially as we’ve focused on expanding northeast into the last part of 2021. Although much progress has been made, 100,000 tonnes of food is buried in the central landfill every year (RIRRC) and is expected to reach capacity by 2034. We look forward to being a partner for food businesses looking to operate more sustainably.
(To Good To Go has partnered with over 50 local restaurants, cafes, bakeries and grocery stores in the Providence area including Roma Ristorante, Ellie’s, New Harvest Coffee, The Nitro Bar, Crepe Corner. Others are added frequently .)
Q: How is Too Good to Go helping business owners, especially during the pandemic?
Basch: The pandemic has rocked the food and restaurant industry around the world. Closures and a decrease in foot traffic have exacerbated an already growing problem and unfortunately forced many people to close their doors. Too Good To Go remained open in all 14 European countries and was quickly launched in the United States, Canada and Ireland, to provide a solution for consumers and businesses to minimize food waste and recover some operational costs. Our partners also said that many new customers experience their store through the app, so this is a bit of free marketing as well.
Q: How much does it cost a small business to join Too Good To Go?
Basch: Registration does not cost companies anything. We only charge a nominal annual administration fee which is deducted from the profits generated by the goodie bags. When users buy a surprise bag, Too Good To Go takes $ 1.79 in commission per bag, with the rest going straight to the store. This allows us to serve our market in 17 different countries by enabling our team to raise awareness of food waste at the retail level and provide meaningful employment to over 1,200 people.
We are proud to be a Certified B-Corporation, which is awarded to companies that meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
Q: How can a business join To Good To Go?
Basch: It’s super easy and fast. They just go under the heading “own a store?” On our website, complete the form and you can start saving meals the same day.
Q: Who is your target audience?
Basch: We want to work with any establishment that throws away excess food at closing time. Our partners choose us because we help their businesses run more sustainably with ease. In terms of app users, we believe that the only way to eliminate the massive amount of food waste is for everyone to play a role in the food rescue ecosystem.
Q: Do you have any data that shows the impact your app has had so far?
Basch: Our key indicator of success is our âsavings rate,â which is the amount of meals we have saved based on supply. To date, since the company was founded in 2016, we have saved more than 107 million meals from the trash, representing the carbon footprint of 52,657 flights around the world. In just one year since its launch in the United States, more than 1.7 million Americans and more than 7,000 food companies have saved more than 1.5 million meals.
We are already extremely proud and inspired by the response and impact in the United States – we have grown faster here than in any of the European countries we have launched to date.