In Europe alone, the food service industry wastes more than 11 million tonnes of food each year: that’s everything from extra baked goods, to spare sushi, buffet specials and deli snacks – you name it; all easily-accessible meals that could feed many in our hungry, growing cities. Luckily, thanks to the creativity of a new smartphone app, we’re being introduced to a fresh way of rethinking our relationship with takeaway food.

Since its release just a year-and-a-half ago, the Too Good To Go app has helped hundreds of thousands of users discover nearby food businesses and delicious meals for under £3.50.

Virgin Unite, sustainability, Too Good To Go

The way it works is this: users with the app browse through locally participating restaurants, place their order, then pick up their meal in environmentally-friendly boxes before closing time for lunch or dinner. The way I see it, it’s a win-win-win for everyone: customers save on cheap quality meals, restaurants maximise their food purchases, and the environment gains from a reduced footprint on resources.

Already, Too Good To Go’s model has saved nearly 800,000 meals across seven countries, including the UK. For its partner restaurants, that’s almost $2 million in revenue that might otherwise have gone out with the trash.

With the global population rising to an estimated 70 per cent in cities by 2050, ensuring everyone is fed can be an additional burden on social systems. In an attempt to bridge this disconnect between food waste and urban hunger, Too Good To Go also works with over 50 different shelters through its volunteer organization in order to donate food to the homeless.

Virgin Unite, sustainability, Too Good To Go

Such a combination of social and environmentally-conscious entrepreneurship is part of a growing awareness amongst young people tackling sustainability through innovation – a shift more countries may move to support in the future. Take France for example: just last year, it made the bold step to implement a ban on supermarket food waste, yet another category of food providers Too Good To Go works with.

Making progress on multiple goals to eliminate hunger, act on climate, and ensure responsible consumption is possible –- perhaps we’re on the edge of a tasty solution to the status quo?

Too Good To Go is one of 50 sustainable development projects featured in the Youth Solutions Report – a new report by the youth initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. You can read more about its projects at or follow the conversation online using #YouthSolutions.

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