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    Too Good To Go

    To Go or to Trash? UK Gathers Pace in Fight Against Food Waste

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    The anti-food waste movement in London is gathering momentum with increasing numbers of supporters joining the Food For London campaign and more than 70,000 people downloading an app that helps prevent restaurants and shops from wasting so much food.

    The Too Good to Go app, aims to cut down on the amount of food that is thrown away by allowing customers to order food at a discounted price from bakeries, market stalls, takeaway shops or restaurants that would usually be chucked in the trash at the end of the day.

     

    Since it launched in June, the app has saved more than 4,500 meals from being thrown away, that's over 1,000 meals a month.

    "The take-up has been huge, Chris Wilson," co-founder of Too Good to Go, told Sputnik.

    "The app has been downloaded more than 70,000 times during the past few weeks with more users wanting to buy more food than is currently available."

    Wilson admited that the firm's biggest concern when it started, was that demand would exceed supply, "and that's almost come true," he said.

    "We're getting requests from towns in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Devon and Worcester, so we need to raise extra capital to expand."

    Many restaurants and chains were initially reluctant to partner with the app, according to Wilson, but since food waste became headline news in London, demand for the service has grown.

    "More restaurants are coming to us; we just need to partner with more to take the app nationwide," Mr. Wilson. London's newspaper, Evening Standard recently launched its #foodforlondon campaign, to redistribute waste and tackle food poverty in the capital.

    ​"We want to use that awareness to help drive our campaign, everyone should be interested, food waste affects all of us," Mr. Wilson told Sputnik.

    However, it seems Britain is still lagging behind other European countries when it comes legislating against throwing away food and packaging.

    In France, it's against the law for supermarkets to throw away or dump surplus food, with stores redistributing 100,000 tons of it to charity. By 2020, it will be illegal to use plastic food packaging or cutlery.

    ​Denmark has reduced its food waste by 25 percent in the last five years due to government backed initiatives and Italy donates 86,000 tons of food that would otherwise go in the bin. Meanwhile, the UK is yet to introduce any laws.

    "Once other countries start adopting similar measures, there's no reason the UK can't do the same.

    "It really is time that the government stepped up and introduced anti-food legislation to make everyone interested in becoming more sustainable," Mr. Wilson added. 

    Around ten million tons of fresh produce is wasted each year in the UK — enough to fill ten football stadiums; however 400,000 people living in London go hungry every day, suffering severe food poverty.

    The Food For London concept is designed around supermarkets giving away food that has reached its "use-by" or "best-before" date to charities, rather than putting it in the bin. An anti-waste concept that chords with Too Good to Go.

    "Our ultimate goal is to become a waste management platform for restaurants to see what food waste they sell the most. If we can cut down on waste it makes more sense for the environment and the restaurant, that's why we want to expand nationwide and spread the concept around the country," Mr. Wilson told Sputnik.

    Chris Wilson and his co-founder Jamie Crummie hope to expand the business into Liverpool, Bristol, Cardiff and Glasgow. However in order to do that, they need to raise more money.

    ​Supermarkets in the UK discard over seven million tons of food every year. Another campaign, Stop the Rot, claims that's enough to lift all the hungry people in Britain out of food poverty.

    "Globally, if food waste was a country, it would be the third top carbon emitter after USA and China," Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board and Stop the Rot Campaigner said.

    ​"Someone pays for these mountains of wasted food — be it you, victims of climate change, the person who can't afford to eat, or the supermarket's suppliers," Ms. Boycott said. 

    The Too Good to Go app, has until the October 20, 2016 to raise US$9,100 and spread its concept across Britain in an attempt to cut down the amount of food wasted by buying it before it's thrown away.

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    food waste, app, stop, supermarket, wealth gap, hunger, campaign, society, technology, food, poverty, Sadiq Khan, Great Britain, Europe, United Kingdom, London
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