In my on-going efforts to be more sustainable, one big focus for me this year is to produce less food waste. I make a meal plan and shopping list every week, use the freezer to save most things, and turn my stale bread into breadcrumbs, but I can, like many people, be guilty of finding forgotten food at the back of the fridge that is long past it’s best.
Most of us know that a brown banana is actually a magic gift from the food gods that we can turn into delicious bread, pancakes, ice cream, or muffins, but before this year, that was the extent of my food-saving knowledge. After doing a dedicated search earlier in the month I found pages and pages dedicated to this, but these are a few easy ones that I’ve started doing: growing sprouted garlic in water and eating the tops for a light garlic taste, regrowing a spring onion in the same way, keeping most vegetable scraps and peelings to make a stock at the end of the week, and freezing citrus peels in order to make a natural cleaner (guess what tomorrow’s new thing will be!).
I felt quite confident I was giving it a good shot at home, but I did wonder about the wider problem, namely shops, cafes, and restaurants. I stumbled across an app called Too Good To Go that offered one solution: selling “magic bags” from the shops, full of food that would otherwise be wasted, at a heavily reduced price. I wasn’t sure how much food I would get, so I decided to try this on a day I was visiting a friend for dinner, and see what we would end up with.
I’m fortunate that I live in a city where there are hundreds of restaurants and shops that are signed up to this scheme, so I decided to try two different ones: a cafe close by, and a bakery nearer my friend.
As you can see, I got some really good quality items from the cafe. If I was eating in there normally I would expect to pay at least €10 for this lot, so I reckon I got a great deal.
The bakery bag was amazing – a huge amount of fresh bread and some sweet treats too. I would expect to pay at least €2 for the pumpkin seed bread alone, so again, a great deal. We didn’t eat all of this so I put most of it in the freezer.
My friend was really impressed but was a bit bothered that it would be a bit awkward (we’re British, it’s a big concern). I actually found it so easy. I was in each place about 2 minutes total, and as soon as I mentioned the name of the app the staff understood immediately and prepared me a bag. The only drawbacks I can think of is that you have to reserve a bag, meaning popular places go extremely quickly, and that you have to pick the bag up in a specific time window, which isn’t always convenient. Again, I’m lucky to live in an area where there are lots of options, I know it isn’t always so easy.
I think this is such a fantastic idea to cut down food waste. The food was plentiful and fresh, and everyone loves a bargain. I highly recommend the app and will absolutely be using it again.