There have been a number of startups that enable consumers to buy food from retailers that would otherwise have gone to waste. In the UK for example there is Olio, while No Food Waste focuses on The Netherlands. The trouble so far has been their inability to scale outside of their small often quite localised urban demographics.
So it is interesting news that Copenhagen based startup Too Good To Go has raised a $31.1 million round. According to TechCrunch blisce/ is leading the round and investing $15.4 million, supported by other early investors and company employees.
Too Good To Go works in a similar way to many of its rivals. It operates a marketplace where restaurants, cafes, bakeries and other food outlets place food items that would otherwise go to waste which can then be purchased at reduced costs by consumers. Retailers get to reduce the amount of food they dispose of while consumers get a good deal on the price of food. As with most marketplaces Too Good To go skims a little commission off the top.
The company operates in 15 countries and has saved 50 million meals. 65,000 businesses have sold something on Too Good To Go so far. It has 30 million subscribers to its service.
The investment comes at an interesting time too. Many food outlets have been hit hard by the Covid 19 pandemic. Many independent businesses have closed, chains like Costa have made significant cuts and others have resorted to new innovations such as the Pret Coffee subscription to keep customers. The investment indicates positivity for the future and in particular for a time when workers are back in offices and consuming food from cafes and restaurants. Too Good To Go told Techcrunch that it has experienced a 62% drop in revenue due to Covid-19, so the only way appears to be up.
The investment will help power the company’s expansion in the US. It has focused on rolling out in cities across Europe and is following a similar path in the US. So far it has targeted New York and Boston and recently started in New Jersey.
In the UK the company recently initiated a Change.org petition to get the government to change its restrictions on takeaway alcohol.It said “last lockdown, it was possible to save almost 40,000 drinks from going to waste – all while supporting local pubs. This lockdown, the restrictions make it impossible. With this petition, we want to change that.
It reports that “in November’s lockdown, through the Too Good To Go app alone, over 35,000 pints of beer and cider, and 2,500 bottles and cocktails went to consumers to enjoy at home instead of going to waste. Many of our partners used the revenue generated from these waste-reduction schemes to support charities, whilst also donating what surplus produce they could to food banks.”