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Too good to be true? Behind the ‘magic bag’

Photo by Annalena Bischoff

The numbers of food waste around the world are shocking! Therefore there is a need for action to be taken in order to reduce the number of products being thrown into the bin. Food services cause around a quarter of the waste because they have products as well as meals left at the end of the day. There is no way of reducing the products in the stores but leftovers can still be sold instead of landing on another pile of garbage. Just for a little less money, they would usually charge.

Several restaurants, cafés, hotels and stores have signed up with Too Good To Go as a solution to their waste. Up to today around 1,300 businesses can be found on the app in different countries. Users can select occasions for their purchase – do you need something for breakfast, lunch or dinner? – or just see which stores nearby offer something. The café in the park across the street might have pastries they do not want to waste to the bin.

When scrolling through the app, there are plenty of options on products to save. For example, some restaurants offer full meals to pick up at a certain time, sometimes there are bags of sweets or boxes of donuts available. Purchasing surprise bags on the app is easy, it is just one click on the store’s offer, a scroll down and then the button ‘reserve’ to place the order. After clicking on reservation there is the option to pay right in the app. The only thing to do right after is waiting for the pick up time and letting the magic happen.

The offers are always limited so there is a risk that someone else purchases the bag you wanted. Don’t spend too much time overthinking!

Aldi is one example of grocery stores that fight against food waste offering magic bags. On their website, Aldi states its mission of helping to reduce food wastage. In their view Too Good To Go is a way of fixing the problem of unnecessarily throwing out groceries by offering them for less than a third of their price. There is variety of products Aldi’s magic bags can contain, from fruit or vegetables, dairy products, meat, bread or snacks. Whichever products are left, will be rescued from ending in the garbage bin.

Aldi surprise bags are quickly sold out in the Too Good To Go app. The best advice is to check the app regularly, there might be an additional bag available, especially at the weekends because the expiration date is reached on that day and people did not buy the products in the store. Or if you are on your phone around the time the store closes, the offers are always on the app one or two minutes after closing time.

On February 26 I did experience it. I was on the Too Good To Go app and saw there were three magic bags available to purchase. I did not spend a lot of time on thinking before I bought one of them for 3,99 € in the early evening. The pick-up time was set for between 8.30 and 8.45 pm. When I arrived at the store, I went straight to an employee and told him about my purchase. He made me click on the app and select ‘picked up’ before he brought me my surprise bag.

Photo by Annalena Bischoff
Photo by Annalena Bischoff

Back home, I checked which surprises Aldi had for me that night. The first thing I noticed was a lot of meat – in particular three packages of Irish cocktail sausages as well as a huge piece of salmon. My first reaction to my bag was: how am I supposed to eat all of this meat? Especially after I looked at the expiration date.

All the products were expiring on the exact day where I purchased them which is one fact you need to consider when thinking about buying something with Too Good To Go. The food available is sold on the platform because it would be thrown away by the stores if nobody bought it before closing time.

Photo by Annalena Bischoff

One way to ensure the food stays edible for a long time is to freeze it. That is what I did with the cocktail sausages and the salmon right away. The quality of the food was great on that exact day, freezing was the only way for me to make sure I could keep the surprises of my magic bag edible as long as possible. Especially for single households, make sure to save some space in your freezer before getting something from Too Good To Go. You never know which surprises you can expect.

It was a variety of products, including whole wheat toast and burger buns. When I picked up my order and looked in the bag, I thought about other people picking up theirs and not being happy because of the amount of meat. For vegetarians or vegans, it is important to filter your wishes on the Too Good To Go app because you can apply ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ so that the stores and restaurants shown to you only offer options that you can fully enjoy.

Photo by Annalena Bischoff

Too Good To Go advertises with the term “enjoy for 1/3 of the original price”. Before I bought my bag, it said the total value was supposed to be about 12 €. Only looking at the big piece of salmon and the sausages, I was thinking: it must be even more than that. So I calculated the original prices of all the products. The result was more than surprising: I paid 3,99 € for groceries worth 19,22 € in the Aldi store.

My personal experience was amazing. I only paid 20 % of the value of my products, which were very delicious. Thinking about the ingredients in the magic bag, I probably would not have bought them myself just walking through the aisles in the store but the products made my daily cooking vary from the ingredients I usually use.

4 stars rating for my personal Too Good To Go experience. Now it is your turn. Tell me about your experiences so far and which stores or restaurants you recommend to others. A good way to bring some variety in our kitchen and do something positive – for our wallet but much more important, for the environment.

Lots of TikTok and YouTube users show the contents of their Too Good To Go orders in short videos as well as vlogs. Here are some of the impressions to show you what might expect you in case you decide to try out Too Good To Go:

YouTube user bamber tries to live from TGTG for a whole day. Here is her experience.
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2 Responses

  1. Never heard of ‘Too Good to Go’ but your article was really intriguing to me. Will definitely check out the app.

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