Here at Great Food at Leeds we’re passionate about making a difference to the environment and to our community, and we hope to encourage our customers to do so too! We work closely with our sustainability colleagues on a variety of different initiatives – we sell Fairtrade products across our outlets and support local suppliers, sourcing 70% of our food from within 60 miles of the University. We’re also working hard to battle waste on campus by promoting KeepCups in all our outlets, encouraging our customers to use reusable cups and rewarding them with 10p off any hot drink when they do.
In addition, last year we introduced the Too Good To Go initiative at The Refectory and in the Business School Café. Helping to reduce food waste by offering surplus food at a cheaper cost, the concept has saved over 2 million meals so far – that’s the equivalent to avoiding 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the same as the energy required to power 324 homes for an entire year!
The founders of the Too Good To Go scheme are University of Leeds alumni, so we thought it was only right to get in touch with the team to find out a little bit more about them and how the idea started…
Where did the initial idea for Too Good To Go come from?
Chris and Jamie (Too Good to Go founders, pictured) met when they shared a flat in Henry Price halls at the University of Leeds in 2010. In 2013 they first became truly aware of the food waste problem when they were catering for an event. Chris went on to set up Too Good To Go in 2015 after graduating with a masters in international business at Leeds with the help of Spark – the University Careers Centre’s dedicated team who support starting up and running a business.
“The fact that the University of Leeds catering outlets have now joined the food waste revolution is a source of great pride for the two co-founders”
After launching the site and getting going, Chris and Jamie met a few Danish guys who were wanting to address the same issue in Scandinavia. From sharing the same passion for addressing this global issue they joined forces and created the app that we see today!
“The app was founded with a mission to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away”
What started out as a solution to tackling food waste in the hospitality industry has developed into a platform to significantly reduce food waste in retail and restaurants too, with over 1,000 businesses having saved food through Too Good To Go in its first year.
Then where did it go from there?
Chris and the team launched the Too Good To Go app in Leeds in June 2016. Two months later they launched in London and since then the project continued to gather momentum – it is now active in six countries with almost 2.5 million users combining to rescue over 2 million meals from heading to landfill.
“We’re trying to use Too Good To Go as a vehicle to catalyse public discussion on the subject of food waste”
The app was founded with a mission to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. It’s a response to the harrowing fact that as a global society, we carelessly throw away over one-third of the food we produce at the same time as watching one billion people go to bed hungry every night. We’re trying to highlight that food is food – our most valuable resource of energy – and not a mere consumer commodity.
We’re trying to use Too Good To Go as a vehicle to catalyse public discussion on the subject of food waste. Whilst the Too Good To Go app encourages users to consume ‘waste’ with the goal of getting the message across that in a lot of cases, what we perceive to be waste isn’t actually waste at all, it’s perfectly good food that just gets thrown in the bin because there’s nobody around to eat it.
“Food waste is a global epidemic, and if we can help to raise awareness of that then we’ve achieved something”
What does it mean to To Good To Go to have the University of Leeds on-board?
Having met in Leeds and lived there for a number of years together, it was always Chris and Jamie’s goal to be able to give something back to the community – not just the students but to the locals too. The fact that the University of Leeds catering outlets have now joined the food waste revolution is a source of great pride for the two co-founders who reflect upon their time at Leeds with great fondness! Add to that the support that Too Good To Go has received from Spark, and there is great reason to see Leeds as their spiritual home.
Where do you hope Too Good To Go will go from here?
Having so recently launched in the UK we’re currently focusing on tackling restaurant food wastage here. However, we are getting emails every day from people as far out as Brazil and Singapore to bring Too Good To Go to them – so who knows what the future has in store! Food waste is a global epidemic, and if we can help to raise awareness of that then we’ve achieved something.
Our ultimate goal is to turn Too Good To Go into a waste management platform that allows restaurants to control their supply better, eliminating any possibility of food waste at source and eventually making the platform redundant!
If you could market Too Good To Go to Leeds students in one sentence, what would you say?
We have written you a poem instead…
Students of the Uni of Leeds,
Take a second to listen please:
For here comes news you don’t want to miss,
Way more exciting than last night’s drunken kiss!
Too Good To Go is live on campus,
Here are some reasons why you probably want to thank us:
Get Refectory food for less than three quid,
So much food you can barely close the lid.
You won’t believe how good it will taste,
Especially considering it was destined to be waste,
So download Too Good To Go from your app store now,
And take home enough food to make your flatmates say wow!
Food offering in The Refectory and the Business School Café at the University ranges from salads, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and daily hot specials. Download the Too Good To Go app and place your order for collection from The Refectory between 7-7.15pm (10 meals available daily) and the Business School Café between 2.30-2.40pm (five meals available daily).