App offering surplus food for a fraction of the cost expands to Windsor and London

An app which allows people to order a mystery array of surplus food from grocery stores and restaurants for “a fraction of the cost” has officially expanded to Windsor and London.

Too Good To Go launched in July 2021, rolling out city-by-city across Canada. Food businesses can register to offer surplus food at the end of the day which would have otherwise been thrown out.

Customers who spot an available “surprise bag” can purchase it on the app and pick it up during a time-limited window. They don’t know what’s in the bag until they open it.

“We see a tremendous need for a product like ours. It’s rooted in the notion that food waste is becoming a bigger issue,” said Sam Kashani, country director for Too Good To Go.

According to the National Zero Waste Council, nearly two-thirds of all food thrown away by Canadians still could have been eaten.

“Globally, 10 per cent of the greenhouse gases emitted into the environment are a direct result of food waste.”

More than 30 businesses in Windsor have signed up on the Too Good To Go marketplace, along with more than 50 in London.

Some restaurants in Windsor previously registered for the app when it was launched in 2021 — but Tuesday marked its official expansion into Windsor and London.

Meanwhile, the Plentiful Harvest Food Rescue program in Windsor is trying to ensure good food stays away from the landfill using a more hands-on approach.

At the Unemployed Help Center office in Forest Glade, volunteers say they support Too Good To Go’s food-rescuing efforts — but they also hope businesses keep them in mind as well for where to offer surplus food.

“If there is a need where the grocery store or the restaurant doesn’t sell food at the end of the day, we would love to come and get it,” said UHC food rescue program director Ali Bazzi.

According to Bazzi, volunteers at Plentiful Harvest primarily rescue vegetables from greenhouses which have either grown in surplus or do not meet appearance requirements to be sold on store shelves.

That’s why, he added, the need for variety of food donations is greater than ever.

“If we can offer any surplus food to our families as well, that will help us a lot,” Bazzi said.

Unemployed Help Center food rescue program director Ali Bazzi in Windsor, Ont. on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)