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By Kitty Cooper
Testing out the food wastage app Too Good To Go in Merseyside
The idea of saving the planet whilst eating delicious, cheap, mystery food was enough to make us want to test out the food wastage app.
According to Too Good To Go, across the globe, one third of all food produced is wasted. However, only one third of us recognise the connection between food waste and climate change.
The Too Good To Go app gives you access to restaurants and supermarkets with surplus food in the form of a ‘magic bag’ which they say contains goods at least three times that of the price you pay. What you get is generally a complete surprise depending on whatever is left over that day.
Here’s what we found when we tested out the food wastage app here in Merseyside.
Day 1 – 8/10 stars
We opened up the app and were instantly greeted by an offering from a restaurant 10 minutes drive away. The Liverpool One Barburrito had a bag available and even specified whether it was ‘veggie’ or ‘meat’.
For £5.30 we selected a veggie bag and were told to collect later that night between 9.45 and 10pm. A little later than we normally eat, but then again, we were saving the world.
We carried on scrolling and found another bag from a SPAR in Knowsley. Driving for twenty minutes, in the dark, through an industrial estate, to collect a £3.09 mystery SPAR bag, we were a little apprehensive. But we needn’t have been.
The SPAR bag contained 12 huge bread buns, a whole loaf of bread, a packet of chicken, bag of bananas, microwavable ‘chicken sandwich’, potato cakes and two bags of delicious cookies.
Although we couldn’t quite face 12 chicken sandwiches for tea, the bread actually lasted the week.
In our Barburrito bag we got two vegetarian ‘burrito bowls’ that after a quick zap in the microwave were a more ‘tea-time’ appropriate meal.
Day 2 – 9/10 stars
Now that we were into the swing of it, we were checking the app regularly, hoping to catch the restaurants in the coveted ‘you just missed it’ section.
Widening my search area, we were able to track down two ‘sandwich shops’; Superior Catering in Widnes and Costa Coffee in Huyton.
The drive to Superior Catering, though long and again, through a random industrial estate, was less eery in daylight. The staff there were equally chipper and we came out with a brown bag of lunch time delights.
There were two egg sandwiches, one with ‘gold award winning ham’, a banana and two cheese and spring onion jacket potatoes which warmed up, tasted like cheesy heaven.
The next bag came from Costa and we weren’t disappointed. Not one, not two, but three of their hearty toasties came to just one pound each. Bargain.
Day 3 – 6/10 stars
By day three, we were struggling to find not just a variety of eateries, but any at all. It’s worth mentioning that we tested this app whilst some restrictions were still in place, so some restaurants weren’t open.
However, the app pulled through and we managed to get our hands on SPAR number two on Queen’s Drive. Perhaps to many, including us, the idea of a curried egg sandwich would make your stomach turn, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
We also got a chicken tikka wrap, tikka chicken slices, two hard boiled eggs, six pancakes and two coffee renoirs – we were definitely broadening our palette.
There was no time to pause though, as we had hit the ultimate jackpot and managed to bag ourselves our first Greggs. However, we did have to drive to St Helens to collect it.
Although we were slightly disappointed with the lack of baked goods, this wasn’t a bad lunch for £2.59 on a Thursday. We did bag a chicken sub, ham and cheese baguette, slab of shortbreads and two chocolate filled doughnuts.
Day 4 – 9/10 stars
The day before our final testing day, we had reserved a Magic Bag of vegan sushi from Sane Food and another Greggs bag from West Derby road in the hope of securing some pastries.
Both were close by, so when the opportunity to purchase a third Greggs bag from Catherine street arose on the day, we clicked reserve before we even knew what we’d done. I think by this point, we were in deep.
Inside was a chicken pasty, sausage and bean pasty, a chicken baguette and three sweet desserts.
However, nothing could have prepared us for the gem of a magic bag that was the Greggs magic bag number three.
Not only did we stumble upon a sausage roll (still warm), we even bagged a vegan sausage roll, chicken baguette and five doughnuts.
Unlike the other bags, our final bag from Sane Food gave instructions to park up, call the number provided and wait for our sushi to be brought to us. The late collection time meant sitting in the dark, in a dimly lit car, on a relatively quiet residential street, making us feel like we were part of AC-12.
In the boxes were three portions of food including vegan gyoza, vegan sushi, rice and vegetables, a banana chocolate bar and some soy sauce.
After four days of eating ‘Too Good To Go’, the real question is, is it worth it?
If used in the right way, this app is a good way to save money, help the environment and support local restaurants. However, travelling 20 minutes by car for a sandwich is a bit counterintuitive if you’re not writing an article about it.
The supermarket bags are a good idea for large families who have the capacity to eat a full loaf of bread in a day or two and the restaurant bags are ideal for busy workers.
For us, we’ll be keeping an eye on the app for those days we can’t be bothered to cook – especially if Greggs is involved.
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