Ecommerce Age columnist and Retail Insider founder Glynn Davis speaks to Simon Leesley, Chief Operating Officer at Too Good To Go, the world’s largest digital marketplace for surplus food…
Can you tell us a little about Too Good To Go?
Too Good To Go is a certified B Corp social impact company fighting food waste through a digital marketplace for surplus food. Too Good To Go’s mobile app connects users with unsold food from a variety of food retail business partners, including supermarkets, shops, restaurants, and manufacturers.
By partnering with Too Good To Go, these businesses can sell their good food, which would otherwise go to waste, while consumers can save money by purchasing it at a discounted price.
Thanks to the ‘Surprise Bag’ and ‘Magic Parcel’ concept the Too Good To Go app is extremely easy to use. The unsold mix of food surplus is posted on the Marketplace and consumers can come to pick up the Surprise Bag from food retailers or pick up the Magic Parcel from food manufacturers at a designated point or book a delivery.
The mission of our company is to inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste together. In addition to the digital marketplace, the team also initiates projects and builds partnerships with businesses, households, schools, and governments to create real change in the way we legislate against, educate about, and practice reduction in food waste.
Food waste accounts for 10% of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and fighting food waste is the number one solution to tackle climate change.
What were the key drivers for creating the business?
In 2016, Too Good To Go was founded in Copenhagen by a group of five young entrepreneurs who shared a deep frustration with the massive amounts of food waste generated by restaurants and grocery stores. Driven by their passion to find a solution to this issue, they set out to create an app that would connect businesses with consumers seeking to reduce food waste and save money.
Two additional entrepreneurs, Jamie Crummie and Lucie Basch, joined forces in 2016 having worked on the same mission in their respective home countries. In the same year, the app was launched in Denmark, France, and the UK.
The real breakthrough for Too Good To Go came in 2017 when Mette Lykke, a prominent Danish entrepreneur and co-founder of fitness community Endomondo, heard about the app from a woman on a bus. Intrigued by the idea, Lykke reached out to the founders and eventually became an investor in the company, providing funding and credibility.
Today, Too Good To Go has grown to a thriving community of 78 million registered users and 140,000 active saving partner businesses across the globe. But it all began with a small group of passionate activists who saw an opportunity to make a real difference.
What skills have you been able to bring to the business from your previous roles?
Over my nine years at Stitch Fix, I gained valuable experience and skills from helping scale the organisation from a fledgling start-up to a rapidly growing scale-up, and eventually to a multi-national publicly traded company.
In my final role as Managing Director of International Expansion at Stitch Fix, I led the launch of their first global markets outside of the US, which gave me valuable operational experience across sales, marketing, customer support, and distribution and logistics in international markets that I have been able to apply to the global expansion and growth efforts at Too Good to Go.
In addition, my experience in management consulting with the Boston Consulting Group and strategic planning with the Neiman Marcus Group gave me a deep understanding of strategy and problem solving that has been relevant as we continue to identify means of expanding our reach and services within the food industry.
Can you give us a flavour of the retailers/brands TooGoodToGo works with and in which countries?
Too Good To Go partners with a variety of retailers and brands in the 17 countries where we operate. The most relevant partner segments included in our Marketplace are Grocery, Bakery-Cafe, Coffeehouses, and Fast Casual restaurants. We have partnered with big names in the food industry such as Carrefour, Aldi, Starbucks, Morrisons, Costa, Casino Group, Biedronka, PAUL Group, and many others.
In addition, our Marketplace also includes manufacturers such as Unilever and Kraft Heinz. They have joined the Marketplace under the Magic Parcel service, which empowers them to reduce food waste by unlocking value from saved food. With each Magic Parcel, consumers can rescue 5-8kg of food straight from the manufacturer, at approximately 50% of the regular price, making a significant contribution to reducing food waste. Magic Parcel is currently available in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and more recently Italy.
Can you share some key numbers – revenues, volumes, repeat customers?
The key number that makes us most proud is the fact that in March we reached the extraordinary milestone of saving 200 million meals from going to waste, and two months later we were already at 220 million. This achievement and speed of growth is a testament to the commitment of Too Good To Go’s community of over 78 million registered users and 140,000 active business partners across 17 countries. In the last 18 months, Too Good To Go saved meals five-times faster than in previous years and increased its registered users by 50% and its number of business partners by 30%.
What have been the major challenges for the company and is there much competition?
We believe our real competition is food waste itself, which is why we welcome more people to join the fight against this pressing issue. We are committed to working with partners and competitors alike to make a meaningful impact. Our platform saves four meals per second, but we know that there is still a long way to go, with 40,000 meals wasted every second. We recognise the scale of the issue and see opportunities for growth.
The recently introduced ‘Magic Parcel’ offering enables us to address food waste in a new part of the supply chain. Our efforts align with the findings of Eurostat, which show that 18% of all food waste occurs during the manufacturing stage of the supply chain, emphasising the importance of addressing this issue. We believe that only by working together can we reduce food waste on a global scale.
What are the major opportunities for the company?
The major opportunity for Too Good To Go is to help other companies that are not yet aware of how easy it is to get involved. Because not only is it the right thing to do, but being a force for good is also good for business. To this end, Too Good To Go has created the Too Good To Go Platform, an end-to-end modular SaaS solution that helps food retailers manage their surplus by tracking and redistributing unsold items at full retail price, reducing food waste, and unlocking value.
The Too Good To Go Platform offers modular solutions including Expiry Date Management, Intelligent Recommendation, In-Store Discounting, Consumer Marketplace, and Date Labelling. These solutions, that can be used independently or integrated, help partners save time and reduce food waste, increase margins and sell-out, reach a large and engaged customer base, and promote sustainability through educational initiatives.
What are your future plans – expansion into other areas of food/non-food?
Our mission is clear: we exist to inspire and empower everyone to fight food waste together. Despite our progress, there is still plenty more to do. That’s why we have set our sights on becoming the leading global player in the fight against food waste by 2030. This will involve becoming an end-to-end solution and providing innovative services that tackle food waste at more steps of the supply chain.
For that reason, while we continue to expand our reach and services within the food industry, we have no current plans to expand into other non-food areas. We strongly believe that our mission is a critical cause, and we want to remain fully dedicated to this goal. By becoming an end-to-end solution and leading global player in the fight against food waste, we hope to make a significant and positive impact on the world.