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Too Good To Go - The Good, The Bad & The Little Bit Mouldy...

The Co-op September/October 2022 - 5 for £6 Freezer Deal

I Road Test The Too Good To Go App (Again)

There are two things I should mention when I write about Too Good To Go, the food waste prevention app, so you know how my mindset about the app and it's purpose:

  1. I understand that the app's main aim is for businesses to offer food to people at a reduced cost that would otherwise go in the bin and be wasted. It's a fab way for businesses to clear excess stock and prevent food waste.

  2. When I worked for Morrisons, one of my roles was to prepare Too Good To Go 'Magic Bags' for customers, making use of excess food products and ensuring that it wasn't wasted and went to those people who really could use some cheaper food, so I write this as someone with an in-depth knowledge of the main aim of the app as well as the potential financial and the sustainability benefit to a consumer (and business) by ensuring that any excess food goes into tummies and not the bin!

I have written about my experiences with the app previously and thought that it was time for an update, being the app has become far more well known these days, and lots more retailers have joined up to try and keep excess food from going to waste, and this is, in my opinion, a really good thing! More and more people are struggling with money at the moment, consumers need to be able to feed their families on much more of a tight budget and businesses have begun to realise that their excess produce doesn't necessarily have to go in the bin once the display by date, or best before date has arrived, they can help stretch their ever decreasing margins by selling their normally unsaleable products, in a different way to their normal business practices, decreasing the costly throwing away of stock, whilst adding an additional revenue stream to their business model, and helping consumers grab some cheaper food, during difficult times. Being that To Good To Go is a good way for businesses to reduce landfill and for consumers to save some money, I decided to grab a supermarket "Magic Bag", which is the name given to the bags/boxes you receive from your chosen retailer and wanted to try a bag from Morrisons because they are very popular and often hard to get, plus the store I collected my bag from was actually the store I used to make the Magic Bags for and having left a few months ago, I was interested to see how the bags had changed since I had gone.

Al Baker and Angellica Bell whilst filming Secrets Of Your Supermarket Shop for Channel 5 TV in 2022

It also fits in well with the Channel 5 show 'Secrets Of Your Supermarket Shop' which will on Thursday the 13th October, at 7pm on Channel 5, be talking about Too Good To Go bags, and is a show that I feature in, as I filmed the Too Good To Go segment with The Martin Lewis Show co-presenter, Angellica Bell earlier in the year, where we explore different Too Good To Go Bags from different retailers, give us judgement on what we received in the bags, plus also had fun isn my kitchen making up a meal from one the bags, which was a great fun!

Anyway back to the main point of this post; I was super lucky to check the Too Good To Go app, just as Morrisons had added bags, so by pure fluke, I managed to grab one! I ordered one for collection on the Sunday before the Queen's funeral (18th of September), which was on the next day, (Monday 19th of September), which was a bank holiday. As the store was going to be closed the next day, I was hoping I might grab a good bag, as the store would want to clear as much excess stock as possible so as not to have to throw anything away.

It wasn't the best start when I arrived at the store, as the Magic Bags hadn't yet been made up, I assumed due to the store being hectic, so I was happy to wait while the bags were made up. I had to wait 55 minutes to get my bag, which was a particularly long time to have to wait, again the store was busy, but I know how long it takes to make up a bag, and they only had three to make, so maybe 10 minutes tops would be my estimate to make them up, but I doubled that as it was busy, but even though they knew they had another customer and me waiting for the bag, it did still take them nearly an hour but never mind, I got a bag, and went home to check out how I did!

The bags are a mystery; they are the Forrest Gump of the retail world; 'You never know what you are going to get', and this is due to the store including whatever they have left at the end of the day or from the previous day (most likely). Until they make the bags up, they won't know what will be inside, which is part of the adventure of a Magic Bag!

So what did I get?

A Too Good Too Go Bag from Morrisons in Aldershot

So I paid £3.09 for my bag, and the bag should contain around £10 of goods at RRP,

I received

2x Pak Choi - RRP £2.18

2x Bags Of apples - RRP £2.90

1x Small brown loaf of bread - RRP £0.55

2x Bags of limes - RRP £1.98

1x Bag of Wonky lemons - RRP £0.79

1x Pack of Warburton's Tea Cakes - RRP £1.15

2x Bags of Conference pears, - 2 different pack sizes - RRP £3.84

The total RRP was £13.39, so a pretty decent amount of goods and some £10 saving off the RRP price!

So how about the quality? This is where I felt a bit let down, if I'm honest. I expect slightly less fresh food in my bag; that's the aim of this app; it's to get rid of food that's perfectly fine to eat and stop it from going into the bin.

As the person that used to make these bags up, we were always told that if YOU would be happy to eat it, then its fine to go in the bag, and that was a pretty decent way to judge what should go in; after all, would you want to pay for a slimy bag of lettuce, no you wouldn't, that product would go in the bin, as it's not edible, and the customer wouldn't want to eat that either; it wouldn't give the customer a particularly good impression of Morrisons, and hey after all, although the customer is getting a discounted food bag, they are still paying, and so want to know that their money isn't going to waste with a bag of a retailers rubbish, that should be in the bin!

So being this is the 18th of September, I would expect to see goods from the 17th, maybe the 16th, 15th at a stretch, unless it was potatoes, and so I was a bit surprised to see pears from the 9th of September, some nine days earlier! I had never contemplated, during my time making up these bags, that I would use a product that was nine days past the display until date, it was just likely to have defects, and in fact, it would be super rare to have anything in the store that out of date, as it would have been disposed of some time ago, but I had faith in whoever packed the bag, that the pears would be in a good condition.

Poor quality pears from my Morrisons Too Good Too Go Bag

As you may be able to make out in the above photo, the tops of these pears were mushy, and once you cut into it, the pear just disintegrated into a nasty slush; not an acceptable item to be given to a paying customer, it was fit only for the bin!

Poor quality pears from my Morrisons Too Good Too Go Bag

The other bag of pears, dated the 15th of September, three days earlier, initially looked better until I looked closer at the pack to find decomposing pears and even mould, as you can see from the picture, and again these just went to mush and shouldn't have been sold!

Both packs of pears went straight into the bin! Going back to the rule about if you would eat it, it can go in the bag; I would say that whoever did the bag that day, either didn't care, didn't check the food or needed to go to Specsavers, as it really wasn't good at all!

The bread was three days past the display date and also had mould growing, so it shouldn't have gone in the bag either, and was also thrown; as much as I like cheap food and live on a budget, I'm not going to start feeding mouldy food to my family unless we are absolutely brassic. Generally, if there are a few soft bits on fruit, I will just cut it out and use the rest, but these pears and bread were way beyond that! It looked to me like someone didn't have much to put in the bags, so they went through the boxes of condemned waste food, waiting to be chucked out, and just added whatever they saw to make the bags look bigger or to make sure the RRP was over £10, rather than checking the quality of what they are putting in the bags! I wish they hadn't bothered!

Now to be fair, although also a good few days past the display date, some five days, the rest of the items were ok; the tea cakes went in the freezer and will be fine. The apples lasted another ten days after I received them, as I kept them in the fridge, and we ate them, so that was all good; sadly, the pears and bread spoiled the bag for me.

So, to sum up, on this visit, I was a bit disappointed; I know that I would have provided a better bag if I had made it up, so it left me not really wanting to order another bag from Morrisons ... BUT I DID!

Yes, indeed, I decided that I couldn't really base my experience on a Morrisons Too Good To Go Bag from just one bag; after all, we all have off days, so maybe I needed to try again!

Checking on the app, the week after, I couldn't get a bag from the same Morrisons as before, but there was one left at a Morrisons a little further away, so I grabbed one from there!

I'm glad I did; this experience was far better! I had a super fast turnaround; I arrived and went to the customer service desk and told them I was there for a 'Magic Bag', and this was already there waiting for me, but it wasn't a bag, it was a banana box filled with lots of goodies!

A Too Good Too Go Bag from Morrisons in Fleet, Hampshire

4x Packs of carrots - RRP £2.20

1x Bunch Of bananas - RRP £0.89

2x Small cabbages - RRP £0.79

4x Bags of prepared vegetables - RRP £5.96

1x Bag of Greek Style flatbreads - RRP £1.50

2x Packs of baby spinach - RRP £4.50

2x Packs of avocados - RRP £3.38

2x Snack pots of fruit and nuts - RRP £1.98

1x Can Pepsi Max - RRP £0.89

The total RRP was £22.09, so a really decent amount of goods and some £19 saving off the RRP price!

This time there were no disappointing products in the box. The bananas were a tad on the brown side and perfectly edible. I prefer bananas to be nice and ripe, so I had zero issues with this!

Everything else was fine. Some items were a couple of days out of date, the majority were either dated that day or the day before, the nuts still had over a week on the best-before date, and the can of Pepsi was dated 2023! (No idea why that was in there, as it was pristine, but it was very welcome!).

Everything part for the bananas, nuts and avocados went in the fridge, which extended the shelf life even further. The bread went in the freezer and will be used for pizza flatbread for when we fancy them; the carrots I finally used up some two weeks after getting the box, and they were absolutely fine.

Homemade soup made from ingredients I got in a Morrisons Too Good Too Go Magic Bag

The prepared veggies I blitzed into a soup, with some of the carrots and some stock cubes, and made about 6 litres or so of soup, so we enjoyed the homemade soup with a toasted cheese sandwich and froze the rest of the soup for later on.

I cooked the spinach and then froze it as little spinach balls, and I will use them as part of another meal later.

The avocado was scooped out, and we added some Mexican-style spices and enjoyed this homemade guacamole with some tortilla chips for lunch a few days later!

This 2nd box redeemed the service for me! A great selection of goodies was received, and we used the lot, and hey, that's the aim of the service!

The bag contents might not necessarily give you a complete meal; it might be a random bag of, well, who knows what, you have to use your imagination and come up with a way to make good use of what you get, think about the TV Show, Read, Steady Cook, and you get the idea! It's a food waste reduction app, not a meal kit, it will be different every time, and as long as the retailers play by the rules, and don't just give you what should be in the bin, then it's a great way to reduce food waste and also allow the buyer to grab some cheaper food, and feel pretty good with themselves for helping to save food from going in the bin.

My top tips for Too Good To Go are:

  • Look on the app the night before you want to get one, as most retailers will add the bags then; Morrisons generally around 9 pm.

  • Be quick; often, the retailer will only add a few bags, so grab them while you can; otherwise, someone else will grab them.

  • Don't rely on being to feed your family on the contents of the bag; they can be very random, and if you end up with ten bags of lettuce and a cauliflower, your family aren't going to be too impressed with their dinner!

  • If you do get a shocking bag, and by that, I mean mouldy food, or food not suitable for human consumption, then complain to Too Good To Go, and they will generally refund you; you aren't the retailer's bin; you pay for an edible bag of goodies, if that's not what you get, then complain, but not on your social media, or one of the unofficial Too Good To Go Facebook groups, the negativity of a social media post complaining about wilted lettuce isn't going to help food waste reduction going forward, you will get jumped on by keyboard warriors and as you've seen from this post, sometimes you get a not so wonderful bag, the next time it might be ace, so don't be overly negative online, just contact Too Good To Go and ask them to look into your complaint.

It's a decent service, it can offer some great bargains for consumers and it's a good way for retailers to save edible food from going to landfill, so is something I fully support, yes like most things it's not always it's heart is in the right place and it's doing good, so give it a whirl, who knows what you will end up with in your 'Magic Bag'

The Too Good To Go app is free to download, and when you get the app, you will be able to see what food is available locally and at what price.

Check out the food waste reduction app Olio as well for excess food, from local retailers and households which is another great example of saving food from going to landfill, with the added benefit of the food, (and other items), being totally free.


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