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A Nondisruptive Approach to the Environment

A Nondisruptive Approach to the Environment


Curbing food waste

Consider the experiences of two organisations: Too Good To Go (TGTG), a Danish start-up, and Tongwei Group, a large established Chinese company. By pursuing nondisruptive creation, both built profitable green businesses that lower carbon emissions while creating a win for the communities they serve.

In the case of TGTG, it set out to tackle the long largely unaddressed problem of food waste and the huge greenhouse gas implications attached to it. Food waste makes up 44 percent of all global waste and a third of all food produced every year. Furthermore, food waste that goes directly into landfills produces methane gas, which contributes to 10 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions and a whopping 30 to 50 percent of global warming.

Restaurants and food services are significant contributors to food waste, often due to their tendency to overstock ingredients and prepare more food than necessary for fear of running short in serving customers. Many of these establishments are small businesses that lack the expertise and resources to accurately track daily demand and repurpose leftover ingredients. As legal provisions in many countries don’t allow expired ingredients and leftover cooked food to be donated to organisations such as food banks, the food is simply thrown out. For restaurants, this becomes an unavoidable cost factor. For the planet, the impact is unnecessary and significant methane.

TGTG addressed this previously taken-for-granted problem via the creation of an app that connects restaurants – and now bakeries and supermarkets – with users who can purchase surplus and unsold food at significantly reduced prices. Each day, partnered food outlets only have to post a “magic bag” of soon-to-be-expired food on TGTG’s app that would be available at the end of the day.

By selecting their desired geographical location, users can browse the app to view magic bags – so called because the specific contents are a surprise – available for collection in nearby areas. All food outlets need to post is the category of food that is in their magic bag, such as vegan products, savoury meals, pastries or simply a random assortment. While users cannot choose the specific food items included in a bag, they can opt to pick up a desired magic bag at a specified time at the selected food outlet – all at a fraction of the original price.

Did TGTG disrupt the existing restaurant, supermarket or bakery industries or lead to a loss of jobs or hurt communities? No. Food service companies love it as it provides them with a new revenue stream. It helps them turn a previous cost factor into a profit maker, while allowing them to know they are contributing to the important cause of helping eliminate food waste, with all the environmental and moral costs attached to it. Communities love it. And with it, our planet is getting greener.

As of 2021, TGTG has a customer base of over 66 million people worldwide, with 85,000 restaurants and food service companies joining its network, resulting in a total of 58 million meals being “saved”. For each purchase, TGTG charges a small flat fee to the seller. Its estimated annual revenue is currently about US$505 million. The thriving new market TGTG created has benefited all parties concerned.

Through its nondisruptive approach, TGTG has made a distinctive contribution to the greater cause of combating environmental degradation while achieving notable business success and supporting society. It’s estimated that one magic bag of food can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of charging a phone 442 times.



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