We try out the popular food waste saving app, to see if we can grab ourself a bargain, at the same time as saving food going to landfill...
You may, or may not, have heard of the app, 'Too Good To Go'. The idea is this - you go on to the app and check out local restaurants, supermarkets & bakeries that are offering 'Magic Bags'. These Magic Bags are actually bags filled with goods that the food retailer aren't able to sell, due to the product being short/out of date and as such are likely to be thrown out and sent to landfill.
The retailer sells the bags to you, at a hefty discount, and as such every one is, in theory, a winner - You get a bargain, the retailer saves on waste and the amount of food going to landfill reduces.
The idea is pretty good, depending on where you live. In my area, Aldershot in Hampshire, there are around 6 retailers offering Magic Gags. A recent trip down to the Brighton area, showed dozens of retailers offering goodies, so the bigger the area you live in, the more choice and opportunities you are likely to see!
The actual process is pretty simple. Go onto the app and see if anyone has Magic Bags available. The app will show the cost of the Magic Bag, and the expected normal selling price, as well as the number of bags available. It will also show you when the bags can be collected, as it does vary from retailer to retailer.
Many restaurants expect you to collect the goods that same evening, normally within a 2 hours time block before the restaurant closes. Supermarkets and other food retailers vary a little, but as an example, yesterday I ordered my magic bags, and I had to collect them between 3pm and 5pm today.
You pay for your order, via credit/debit card or Paypal, on the app, and are given a order number and the app stores your order. When you go the retailer to collect, you show them the app, they swipe the app to say the goods are collected, and that's it, you are all set.
You can then rate the retailer, via the app, to let other know if you found the deal to be of good value and the goods to be good or not.
So, I tested the app. I selected a SPAR store, located 22 minutes from my house. Its was a little further away than I would have liked, but there isn't a massive number of retailers in my area, who are signed up to the scheme, so I went with what was available!
SPAR offered two options:
1. A fruit & veg/baked goods 'Magic Bag' priced at £2.00, with an expected RRP of £6.00
2. A packaged goods "Magic Bag' which conatains a selection of chilled items, including dairy, meat and items from the food to go section. This was priced at £3.30, with a RRP of £10.00
What is important to note, is that the bags are pre-prepared, what you get is what you get, you cannot choose what goes in the bags, its Russian Roulette, you could get a bag of your favourite items, or you could get a bag of your least favourite foods... It's pot luck!
So with the view of getting an idea of what sort of goodies I may get, I purchased one of each bag, so my total cost was £5.30, for 2 bags.
I arrived at the SPAR at a little after 3pm, and indeed, my bags were ready, I showed them my app, they swiped it, and I was away... Incredibly easy process... So what did I get?
Magic Bag 1 - The Veg bag
So the bag contained 4 items, for my £2 - Mushrooms, Kiwi fruit, Beer battered onion rings and a bag of lettuce. All were dated with todays date apart from the mushrooms which were dated yesterday. All seem to be in decent condition, I'm not totally sure what my the cost would have been if I had bought them at RRP, but I would say £6 probably more or less right, so I definitely did get a reasonable deal for £2. The kiwi already had a clearance sticker, pricing them at 50p and the salad at 29p, so that's 79p total for those 2 items, so I guess the other 2 items together would likely be around £1.21 mark, so I'm not necessarily getting a better deal than if I bought the goods separately from the stores clearance section, but I'm not complaining, it's still a good deal.
Magic Bag 2 - The chilled /packaged goods bag
This bag contained 4 items for my £3.30 - Meatballs, Cooked roast chicken breasts, a pack of 6 sausages and a bag of mini shortbread bites. All the items had todays date on them, so they could have been used today, or, as is the case, could all be frozen, (apart from the cookies).
Again, for £3.30 this isn't a bad deal, 3 meat products make the deal pretty good. The £10 RRP is probably about right as well, I doubt I would have got much change from a tenner if I had bought them all at full price. My only gripe is that, if I had bought all the items separately from the clearance chiller, going by the prices marked on the packs, I would have paid £2.93 - I paid £3.30 via the app, so on this bag, I feel a little bit like my deal could have been better, purely based on this issue. If they had taken the clearance prices off the packs, before bagging them, I would have been none the wiser and would have been chuffed with my 'Magic Bag"
So there you go, I think I got an ok deal for my £5.30 total.. Not exceptional, I've had better deals in my local Tesco and Sainsbury's many a time, but I have still saved some cash, I will make use of everything I got in my bags, so I've saved money and helped to reduce waste, which is the whole concept of the app, so it's been a successful experiment.
This was from just one store on the app, there are many retailers taking part, including big brands with supermarkets such as Morrison's and restaurants such as Yo Sushi! taking part, and so results from each retailer will vary and you could pick up the mother load of goodies, who knows! I'm aiming for a Morrison's 'Magic Bag', but these are really hard to get, they seem to go live at 6pm and then sell out at... 6pm! If I do get one, I will write a post on that one as well!
If you would like to give this app a try, you can download it for FREE from the 'Too Good to Go' website. let us know how you get on!