Too Good to Go app partners with local restaurants to fight food waste

Too Good To Go, a company that bills itself as a “surplus food market,” is partnering with Long Island restaurants to help fight food waste.

Customers search the mobile app for nearby businesses that have posted “goodie bags” – food that would otherwise have been thrown away. Discounted meals are available for pickup only at a time specified by the restaurant, with prices per bag ranging from $3.99 to $5.99. Everything, including payment, is done through the free downloadable app. Restaurants choose what’s in each bag and set the price at about a third of the usual retail value, said Allie Denburg, head of strategy and planning for the company in the United States, with 1, $79 from each order going to Too Good to Go.

Long Island’s pizzerias, bagel shops, and bakeries feature prominently on the app; other participating restaurants range from chains such as Philly Pretzel Factory, Duchess Cookies, Sobol and Island Empanada to Prince Umberto in Franklin Square, O Sole Mio in Stony Brook, Kick’n Chicken in Farmingdale and Karmic Grind in Locust Valley.

A recent surprise bag from Pizzeria Taglio in Mineola included three specialty slices – a carne picante (with fresh mozzarella, hot sopressata, sweet Italian sausage), regularly $6; Roman vodka, $5; and Buffalo romana, $6 – for $4.99.

“We welcome many customers who may have never been here before,” said Taglio co-owner Domenico Tolomeo. “So it helps us and it also helps people who are food insecure and maybe don’t have enough money to spend on a $30 pie or a $4 slice.”

During the short time that Taglio was featured on the app, Tolomeo said the pizzeria sold out and plans to increase its bag count to at least 15 per day.

“On Long Island alone, how many people are there that are likely to go to bed hungry? If I throw away five or six pies a night, then I’m not helping anything,” Tolomeo said.

Similarly, Philly Pretzel Factory in New Hyde Park, a restaurant participating in Too Good to Go since late last year, typically has three bags a day available Monday through Thursday. A recent $5.99 order through the app saw 20 freshly baked traditional pretzels, which would normally cost $1.50 each (or $30). Co-owner Brigitte Louzeiro said it’s a win-win way to use up leftover dough at the end of the night.

“Not only am I saving money paying my dumpster business,” Louzeiro said, “I feel like I’m doing something good in return and people are also getting to know my product.”

Too Good to Go was launched in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2016. It reached the New York metro area in 2020 and the Long Island market last spring. Today, it’s available in 17 countries around the world and in 12 US cities. About 80,000 meals have been saved from waste in Nassau and Suffolk counties over the past year, according to Denburg.

Gladys T. Hensley