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Too good to go

Food waste apps are here to save the day By Laura Gaga

I first used food waste app, Too Good To Go (TGTG), around five years ago now - for salad boxes, and sandwich wraps in London, and Chinese food in Brighton. Using the app, you can buy a 'Magic Bag' of food from stores, eateries, restaurants at a discounted price; surplus food which would otherwise be wasted.

The app began in Denmark in 2015 and it is now active in fourteen European countries including Spain, Germany, Austria. It's great for travelling - I remember when a friend and I bought breakfast using the app whilst on a mini break in Copenhagen in 2018.

Sadly, I have no foreign travel plans at the moment, and with Coronavirus, who knows exactly when I'll be able to jet off on holiday again, so I'll be heading back to Blighty for now.

Travel is not the only uncertainty - with the aim being to eliminate food waste, you do not know exactly what is in your order until you pick up your TGTG Magic Bag.

'Couldn't that prove difficult for a vegan?' I hear you ask! The app allows you to filter diet preferences with options for vegetarian or vegan.

On a wet Wednesday I was bored in the house, in the house bored - it being lockdown at the time my options were limited, and my mind drifted to food; to be honest this isn't really much different to any other time.

I guess as someone who buys few takeouts these days, I'm usually pondering on what I can cook, but that Wednesday I wanted something different, a surprise even - a bit of magic in my day, so I started scrolling TGTG.

I stopped upon organic supermarket, Planet Organic, listing Food to Go - hot food and salads - being sold at £3.30 rather than their regular price of £10, for collection between 17:00 -18:00.

Now, I don't want too many surprises; I definitely don't want to buy a box to discover that it has meat or dairy in it, and TGTG can't predict what's going to be in the bag.

They had, however, included the store's telephone number and advised that they could be contacted directly if you had any dietary requirements. I dialled the number, spoke to a gentleman who assured me that he would leave a note asking the counter staff to omit the vegetarian lasagne, and fill the box with vegan food only.

He had a deal, I hit the reserve button and set off. I couldn't resist popping into the nearby Waitrose as I walked toward Planet Organic, and buying a few reduced-price, yellow sticker items; the Jus-Rol pastry blocks will keep well in the freezer! It felt a little bittersweet as I passed a homeless woman when I left Waitrose.

I carried onto Planet Organic, showed the gentleman I'd spoken to earlier my order code as he handed me a brown bag. Of course, I had to physically check that neither of the boxes in the bag contained dairy; are you even vegan if you don't, ha ha!

Whilst the hot food box was filled with Massaman Curry, Turmeric and Spinach Dhal and brown rice, the salad box was a feta salad.

\"That must have been all that was left on the salad counter,\" my gentleman friend explained, \"Wait here!\" Bless him, he returned with a vegan Mexican salad box for me, free of charge. I thanked him and asked for takeout cutlery; I still had the problem of the feta salad.

I hotfooted it back to Waitrose to find the same woman still sat outside the shop, and offered her the salad and cutlery, assuring her that I hadn't touched the food.

She accepted and thanked me, making no mention of her dietary preferences; whilst for us veganism is the ethical choice, let us not forget that most of us are privileged enough to be able to make it.

According to the World Bank nearly two million people in the UK are under-nourished, and with a third of all food globally being wasted, food is too good not to go to someone.

For more from Laura, follow her on Instagram @reduction_raider1 Or listen to her on episode two of Vegan Life Magazine Podcast, veganlifemag.com/vegan-podcast

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VeganLife

The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.