“TooGoodToGo" app Rescuing good food from going to waste

Bonn · The "TooGoodToGo" app connects customers with unsold surplus food, preventing it from going to waste. In Bonn, there are many businesses that participate. This is why they got involved, how it works and how everyone benefits.

The “TooGoodToGo” app shown here on a mobile phone on Friedrichstrasse.

The “TooGoodToGo” app shown here on a mobile phone on Friedrichstrasse.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

According to the United Nations, around 17 percent of all food that is produced worldwide gets destroyed. It may not even land on a plate but go directly into the bin, untouched. In Germany alone, this amounts to around eleven million tons a year. Yet a large proportion of this waste could be avoided with simple solutions.

For example with "TooGoodToGo". This app connects bakeries, petrol station bistros, supermarkets, restaurant and retail businesses with app users so that surplus food can be given away at a reasonable price and thus saved from being destroyed. At the end of the day or shortly before closing time, some foods are sold at around 60 to 70 percent cheaper via this app. Restaurants, hotels and business people in Bonn have joined this initiative.

“Grab bags” are particularly popular after the holidays

For the manager of Denns Biomarkt in Endenich, this is "a great thing”. He says, "Anything that helps prevent food from being wasted is important.” As soon as he indicates in the app that bags of food are ready for distribution, the first customers arrive. "Sometimes you have to be quick." The bags of food are especially popular after holidays such as Easter. "Then there are up to 20 packed bags here." He usually offers his "grab bags" in three different forms: with fruits and vegetables, with baked goods or as a "surprise bag". Via the app, users can reserve their bag and pay cashless. Denns Biomarkt says it has sold a total of around one million food bags to date.

Kevin Stollenwerk from the Edeka supermarket on Annaberger Strasse in Friesdorf is enthusiastic about the initiative. "Of course I'm happy to take part. It's a really good idea. And very successful," says the retailer. As soon as puts his daily offer out on the app, the first customers are already coming into the store. "Everything is gone within a very short time. You have to be flexible and can't think twice. Otherwise you end up empty-handed." The bags often contain fruit, lettuce or vegetables with tiny blemishes. "Everyone values sustainability. But nobody wants to buy bananas with dark spots," observes Stollenwerk.

No goods from the day before

The finest tarts, delicious cakes. What comes fresh from the bakery should also be served fresh. "That's why we don't sell goods from the day before," says Mohammed Babaei from Lilium Café und Konditorei in the city center. He packs around ten to 15 bags every week to offer on "TooGoodToGo". Although it is mainly young people and students who reserve the food parcels, "last week we even had an 80-year-old customer who signed up via the app," he says. For him, the initiative is a "win-win-win project". "There are three winners," explains Babaei. "Less food is destroyed, we produce less waste and we promote our business at the same time," he explains. "It doesn't get any better than that.”

What customers leave behind at the breakfast buffet at the Achat Sternhotel am Markt, others are happy to enjoy. The hotel has been registered with the app since January of 2023. And if you haven't brought the right packaging for transporting bread rolls, pastries, hot dishes, fruit and vegetables, the hotel staff is happy to provide it. The food is collected between 10:30 and 10:45 am. But at the moment, they don’t have much to offer "because there is nothing left over after breakfast these days," says spokeswoman Sabine Dächert for Achat Hotels.

Petrol stations also involved

Several Aral petrol stations in Bonn (Im Wingert, Godesberger Allee, Potsdamer Platz, Rochusstrasse, Königswinterer Strasse, Römerstrasse, Landsberger Strasse) are also taking part. The exact contents of the bags remain a surprise until they are collected - "depending on what is left over at the end of the day. For example, it could be sandwiches and savory or sweet snacks from the bistro that can no longer be sold the next day. Products from the store such as sushi or salads can also end up in the surprise bag," says company spokesman Kai Krischnak. More than 1,100 company-owned Aral petrol stations in Germany are taking part in the initiative. A total of around 1.3 million bags have been sold so far.

The city of Bonn joined the "Cities against Food Waste" initiative two years ago. Involved are the cities of Bonn, Bochum, Dresden, Essen, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Kiel, Cologne, Mainz and Saarbrücken. The initiative was founded by "TooGoodToGo". By taking part, the partner cities pledge to actively support food rescue, making an important contribution to greater sustainability locally.

Fighting food waste together

"Food waste is a major driver of the climate crisis and is therefore deeply unjust on several levels," emphasizes Bonn Mayor Katja Dörner. "In Bonn, we want to move towards a social and climate-friendly society and be climate-neutral by 2035 at the latest. Reducing food waste plays an important role in that." Together with local initiatives and associations, the city is working to promote greater appreciation of food and, as part of its activities as an organic city, is promoting encounters with players in the sustainable agriculture and food industry, said the mayor.

(Orig. text: Gabriele Immenkeppel; Translation: ck)

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