In Germany alone, 18 million tons of edible food end up on the garbage heap leading to an unnecessary waste of all the resources used to produce it. Too Good To Go tackles this issue by providing simple solutions to the problem with - for one - its food saving app, offering restaurants, coffee shops and food retailers a platform to sell surplus food that would otherwise go to waste. As part of our "A Ladle..." series, we talk to CEO Mette Lykke about the mission and vision of Too Good To Go, and the reasons for the partnership with METRO.
Mette, what was the spark that initiated the founding of Too Good To Go?
It all started with the realization of just how many tons of food restaurants discard food every day. We’re talking about perfectly edible food that was up for sale hours earlier. We thought there had to be a smarter way to handle it and a few months later, the Too Good To Go app was born as the first solution to addressing this huge issue! It’s now available in 15 countries. We have over 35 million users and more than 44,000 partners on board. The partnership with METRO is another of our new models for achieving our vision of a planet with no food waste by connecting with wholesalers and the food professionals that use their services.
What is Too Good To Go’s mission?
Our mission is to inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste together. Practically, this means getting the topic onto the environmental and political agenda, consulting businesses on wider actions they can take, and equipping schools with material to get food waste onto the curriculum. People want to make a difference - we’re here to help them discover what they can do and how easy it is to take action. The food we waste is responsible for up to 10% of the overall output of CO2e equivalents emitted into the atmosphere. When companies such as METRO commit to reducing food waste by 50% by 2025, it is really making a difference!
How do we get there?
It starts with awareness and then with driving real change - behavioral, in businesses and education, and at a political level. When we change the way we approach food waste and start respecting food for its true value, children grow up with different habits and skills, and businesses incorporate food waste reduction policies more prominently in their planning. Making these changes means understanding the current way of thinking and working. Too Good To Go processes align with how businesses already operate. We support METRO customers in reaching their food waste reduction goals by addressing them where they already are and implementing solutions that work in harmony with their existing business processes. We all remember being told to always empty our plate. Now we know it’s more about wrapping up the food for later!
Why do you work with METRO?
METRO is a global company that – just like us – has realized that with great scale come great opportunities. It’s up to us to make an impact and seriously advocate for the environmental goals that will ensure a brighter tomorrow. We currently work together with nine countries across Europe, and are active in 26 MAKRO stores, 17 of them are in the Netherlands and all 7 MAKRO stores in Belgium, so you might have seen us already! Together, we have saved more than 226,000 meals from going to waste. It has also been a pleasure to stand on stage with Veronika Pountcheva twice in 2019, back when we were still able to meet in person! At events held by the Financial Times and the Consumer Goods Forum, we spoke about our vision and the power companies have to create positive change in the world. We really cemented this with our accreditation as a B Corp this year.
Before you joined TGTG and the fight against food waste, you co-founded fitness app and community Endomondo. What was your personal motivation behind this change?
When I first heard of Too Good To Go and the mission behind it, I was not aware of the environmental dimensions of the food waste issue. Once I realized the extent of the problem, I became one of the first investors in the company and joined as CEO six months later. I am proud to be part of building the team working relentlessly to fight the issue of food waste, and so protect the natural environment which was one of my motivations behind developing Endomondo: Not only to get people to work out – but to do this outdoors and appreciate nature again. As we move into the new normal, this really is the beginning of a new set of global environmental and social priorities. I couldn’t be prouder of our strong sense of purpose.
Partnership with METRO
The partnership between METRO and Too Good To Go was first launched in Germany in October 2018 and was extended internationally in May 2019. It was originally set in six countries - Denmark, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain. Now, users of the app are able to buy unsold surplus food for reduced prices from all 17 stores in the Netherlands, and six in Belgium to save the food from going to waste.
After success in these countries, Portugal, Austria and Poland were added in November 2019. The partnership also includes a customer referral model that means the METRO team proposes Too Good To Go to end customers in HoReCa as the digital solution to them fight food waste in their operations.
More about METRO’s sustainability strategy in our Corporate Responsibility Report.
(Editor's note: We have updated the figures in February 2022.)