The world wastes an astounding amount of food every year: an estimated 2.7 trillion pounds. That's a third of the total food we produce — and could be enough to feed 2 billion people.

A great deal of this waste originates from cafés and restaurants, which throw out unsold sandwiches, pastries, and produce that are about to expire.

A new app, called Too Good to Go, aims to put a dent in that waste. Available in the UK, it connects users with local restaurants that want to sell perfectly good leftover food at a much cheaper price.

Once a user signs up, they can browse the list of restaurants and select a type of food they want to order from one of them (pastries, sandwiches, soups, etc.), rather than a specific dish. Then they pay for the food — all the items are priced between $2.60 and $5.30 — and visit the restaurant at the end of the lunch or dinner shift (the app tells you what time) to pick it up.

Restaurants can list the kinds of items they anticipate having in excess, and change their offerings by the day. They list both the regular price and new discounted price of each food. One restaurant called Day's in Brighton, for example, is selling Chinese food for just $3.30, though it's regularly $8.50. Another called Italian Lira is offering cakes that are normally $8 for $2.60.

You can think of the app, which launched in June 2016, as a kind of Seamless for food waste — except that users have to pick up the meal.

Too Good to Go launched in the British cities Brighton and Leeds and plans to expand to London, Birmingham, and Manchester soon. The app looks like a win for the restaurants (since they earn money for surplus food they'd otherwise throw away) and customers (who want cheap food).

Plus, the app could eventually decrease the amount of food dumped in landfills. In the UK, about 41% of the region's food waste comes from restaurants and pubs. Food waste from American restaurants makes up 15% of all the food that ends up in landfills (about $1.6 billion worth). 

That level of excess is harmful to the environment, because it means we're expending CO2 anddegrading farmland to produce food we're not even eating.

Too Good to Go seems like a clever way to cut down on that waste.


Source: Business Insider


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