This app reduces food waste and helps you save money

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Hoboken and Jersey City are home to some of Hudson County’s best and best known restaurants, cafes and bars. But with the plethora of dining options, there is a daily glut of leftover food in our restaurants and cafes. Around the world, we waste more than ⅓ of our food — and the United States is responsible for a huge amount of that waste, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. While some leftovers are donated or taken home by staff at the end of the day, the vast majority are thrown away in restaurants. This is due to a few factors including health and safety guidelines which the government imposes and strictly monitors. Through the app, Too good to leave, businesses that have leftover food at the end of the day are matched with consumers who can buy that leftover food at a third of the price. It is an innovative idea that not only helps fight food waste, but also reduces the grocery bill and gives users the chance to try out a new restaurant or cafe. Read on to learn more about local Hoboken and Jersey City restaurants participating in Too Good to Go.

(Photo credit: @toogoodtogo.usa)

About the company

Too Good to Go started in Denmark in 2016 and was introduced in the United States in 2020. It is currently present in twelve major American cities – including Manhattan, Hoboken and Jersey City – and seventeen countries around the world. With plans to continue to expand, its mission is “to inspire and empower everyone to take action against food waste”. The team strives to bring people together to fight food waste and generate positive change in society. This year, Too Good to Go “celebrated the milestone of saving 100 million meals in 17 countries since its inception in 2016”, the site reads.

The original idea was to focus on the foods that were lost at the end of the buffets. By developing this concept, the founders realized that it could be extended to all kinds of food service providers such as restaurants and cafes, bakeries and hotels. The idea caught on quickly and the overall goal is to continue to shake up the food system and make the world think differently about food waste. The platform offers consumers a fun and affordable way to make an impact and store owners an opportunity to enjoy fresh food that would otherwise be thrown away. And if you ask us, any idea to help the planet and make a difference is worth trying – and this idea is one that benefits everyone involved as well.

Read more: How to practice zero waste in Hoboken + Jersey City

How it works for customers

Once registered on the ‘Too Good To Go’ app, users create a profile, enter their location and begin exploring participating businesses in the neighborhood. Attendees have the option to search by food type, food preferences, or preferred pickup time or location. You will pay directly on the application (at a third of the price) and you will have time to collect your “Surprise Bag” of food. The surprise bag will either include an entire meal – like a sandwich or entrée, or grocery ingredients – like an avocado or an apple. Users can customize their profiles and search in categories such as Dinner, Baked Goods, Grocery, Vegetarian, Vegan and “Your Favorites”. The app also lets you set up push notifications so you won’t miss it when new goody bags are available at your favorite local spots.

How it works for businesses

From big chain restaurants like Cava, Eataly, and Just Salad to small local eateries in your own backyard, there are plenty of businesses that offer these services through the app. Although Too Good to Go charges a small percentage of each purchase, the benefits are incredible. So many businesses have taken advantage of the app to help fight food waste, recoup losses from discarding fresh food, increase visibility, and ultimately help the planet.

Hoboken + Jersey City Companies participating in Too Good to Go

There are a variety of restaurants + shops that participate in this app, and the list changes – here are some popular current participants in Hoboken + Jersey City:

Hoboken list

annie ems hoboken bakery

^ Annie & Em’s Bakery

List of towns in Jersey

luna italian restaurant jersey city

^ Moon

The experience

The experience is not perfect and users have to accept the flexibility. The Mystery Merchandise Assortment does not accommodate food allergies and may be difficult for those with strict dietary restrictions or picky eaters. Users must accept that there are fixed pick-up times (sometimes late at night), and there’s always the possibility that you won’t end up with food every time. Additionally, you might encounter an employee who is new to the program or unsure of what your Goodie Bag might contain. While it might not be best to rely on him to plan his meals, we certainly don’t turn down a discount, a chance to help the planet, or a chocolate croissant. The app also encouraged us to go to places we might not have visited on a random Tuesday.

Learn more: Good Bottle, New Jersey’s first refill/zero waste store opened in Montclair

Resource Center

Too good to leave also has an extensive resource center full of data where you can learn all about food waste and the extent of the problem. This knowledge center contains everything you need to know about topics such as what food waste is and why it happens; why food waste is a problem; how it contributes to our carbon footprint; and more. TGTG also has a active social media page and blog, which act as another great resource. The team shares helpful and innovative ways to use up leftovers, store fruits and vegetables, store food properly, and suggestions for freezing. For example, subscribers can learn how to make applesauce from mushy apples, how to save a dish that’s too spicy or salty, how to save lemon zest to make lemonade, or how to revive green salads.

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