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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Too Good To Go: How one app is combating food waste in Portland

Erika Leung
Founded in 2016, Too Good To Go saves over 100,000 meals every day.

A dozen donuts for $3.99 and six bagels for $3.29 seem too good to be true. Or, is it just Too Good To Go? As explained on their website, the company Too Good To Go seeks to connect users with restaurants and businesses that have surplus food at the end of the day. Instead of throwing food away, restaurants and businesses can sell it to users at discounted prices, effectively reducing food waste while allowing businesses to recover sunk costs. The company is currently partnered with over 42 thousand restaurants worldwide.

Sunshine Mendez, the manager at the Coco Donuts Uptown says that they typically get between seven and twelve Too Good To Go orders a week. She saw a lot of desirability behind the program when the app came to Portland.

“It has opened up a lot of opportunities for people who maybe don’t have the funds right now to come in and spend for a regular pricing. So, we are able to give them a deal,” she said.

She also highlights the value in reducing food waste.

“It’s invaluable. Most people know here in America that we have a lot of waste and it just goes into the landfills. Anytime that we can help prevent that from happening, I think it’s something we should try, at least,” said Mendez.

Data from Feeding America shows that more than one-fourth of all food in the United States is being wasted. This contributes to around 10% of our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. With 78,873,299 meals saved in 2022, Too Good To Go is reducing the waste present.

Spielman Bagels on Lovejoy has also been using Too Good To Go. They typically get 13 to 15 customers, depending on how many day old bagels they have available. Instead of the typical $5.75 price for six bagels in store, Too Good To Go users can get a bag for only $3.29. Manager Isabelle Kalaw says that typically at least 90% of their day-old bagels get sold each day thanks to the app. She similarly appreciates the financial and environmental benefits of the program.

“I think it’s financially better for some people just because it’s cheaper. Also, as a society as a whole, we don’t have a set idea on what to do with food, especially in a lot of restaurants and other organizations,” said Kalaw.

Lincoln High School senior Angelo Mercado uses Too Good To Go at least once a week. They enjoy the good deals they have found. Recently, Mercado got two spam musubis, a tuna onigiri and a coconut rice cake from Yokai Musabi for five dollars, compared to the 15 it would have been if ordered regularly.

Mercado sees two main benefits in the app, both that it is good for a restaurant’s sales and for reducing food waste. They believe it is important to think about the food we are consuming and how much is going to waste.

“I downloaded the app first because I heard it from my sister and I thought it was a really good idea because I’ve worked in the food industry, and in a restaurant too. I’ve seen first hand how much food really goes to waste when people just don’t eat it,” says Mercado. “I think it feels good to be conscious about how much we are wasting.”

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About the Contributor
Erika Leung
Erika Leung, Reporter
Erika is a senior this year. She is excited to bring a new creative perspective to the Cardinal Times and investigate issues that all students and communities can enjoy! Her favorite things to write are articles highlighting students, environmental justice-related pieces, and community reviews.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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