App helping businesses sell surplus food debuts in Tampa Bay

A lot of food can end up in the trash if it’s not bought by customers that day.

One app expanding across Florida is trying to change that for restaurants, cafes and other food-driven businesses.

Too Good to Go, a Denmark-based company, launched its app in the Tampa Bay area this week. Local businesses like Valkyrie Doughnuts, La Segunda, Pete’s Bagels and DalMoros Fresh Pasta To Go have signed up on the app to offer “surprise bags” of their products.

These bags of leftover products can sell at heavy discounts.

The app aims to help consumers get food at a lower cost and also help cafes or restaurants recoup money that would have been lost from throwing out food that wasn’t sold, said Too Good to Go spokesperson Sarah Soteroff.

Businesses will put together bags of extra food on the app for customers to order. Customers won’t know what’s in the bags but they’ll have an idea of what kind of products they’ll find inside whether its baked goods, leftover sauce or pieces of pizza. The app will also show how much it’s discounted from the full menu price.

Customers can only pickup from the store, Soteroff said. The app does not offer delivery.

Each business has its own pickup period — usually near closing hours — when customers can grab the mystery bags.

Too Good to Go, an app aiming to reduce food waste, officially launched in the Tampa Bay area Nov. 15, 2023.

[ Courtesy of Too Good to Go ]

Businesses may already have different methods of reducing food waste whether its making bread pudding for leftover bread or offering day-old sales. The Too Good to Go app aims to give them another option that’s simple.

“Having an additional mechanism to get that food into the hands of people who want to eat it and who will buy it is fantastic,” Soteroff said.

By making the bags a surprise, Soteroff said it helps lower the barrier for businesses so they don’t have to take photos to promote the products they’re trying to get rid of.

On the app this week, La Segunda, Ybor City’s century-old bakery, put up its famous Cuban bread in bulk on Too Good to Go for nearly $25 when it typically sells for $73. Spain Restaurant and Toma Bar in downtown Tampa listed extra pork bones as bone broth ingredients.

Too Good to Go debuted in Florida earlier this year in Miami and aims to be available across the state by next year, Soteroff said.

Along with Tampa, the app also began service in Orlando this week. The timing seems right, as residents in Florida have felt some of the highest effects of inflation across the country.

“We help provide some solutions for Floridians who are looking for lower cost food items while also still eating great and helping to reduce the impact of food,” Soteroff said. “It’s kind of an all encompassing solution for everybody.”

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