Alcampo, Carrefour, Dia or Lidl: the 'super' weave agreements with Too Good to Go to prevent food from ending up in the trash

More than a third of the food that is produced ends up in the garbage. Drinks and food products that are also responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. These are the estimates that handles Too Good to Go, the company that, through an application on mobile devicestries to reduce these impacts through agreements with neighborhood stores, restaurant chains, hotels or supermarkets, so that food that is about to expire, but is in perfect condition, reaches consumers.

"We continue to use an area the size of China to produce food that ends up in the trash," says Too Good to Go CEO Mette Lykke. “The problem of food waste has three perspectives. On the one hand, the environmental. On the other, above all, the social. It's a paradox, because we talk about how to produce enough food for the entire planet, when in reality we already do it and, even so, 840 million people go to bed hungry", says Mette Lykke in a meeting with the Spanish media. and Portuguese.

“And the third aspect is the economic one. The food that is wasted is the equivalent of 1.2 trillion dollars, which is the sum of the gross domestic product of Denmark, Sweden and Norway”, argues the CEO.

The company started in Spain four years ago. Since then, they have been incorporating restaurants, shops, 'hyper' and supermarkets. The latter are the ones that allow a leap in scale. Today, the application works in Spain with Carrefour and Alcampo, which have the app operational for all their establishments.

In addition, two other groups of supermarkets with an Iberian presence are developing the project. On the one hand, Dia, which has an active application in Portugal but, at the moment, not in Spain. On the other, the German group Lidl, which is in the development phase of a pilot project, which has implemented the app in 74 establishments in Spain, with the aim of progressively extending it to the chain as a whole, according to a spokesperson for Too Good to Go to elDiario.es. Currently, Lidl has a network of 630 stores in Spain.

At a regional level, the application has establishments that are not implemented throughout the territory. For example, the Masymas supermarkets in Asturias and Levante, the Lupa chain of Cantabrian origin or the Catalan Condis and Ametller Origen.

As for how the operation is, how the application works, what users buy are food packs, at lower prices, in the establishments where they request the purchase. Packs that are collected at the time indicated by the shops or restaurants. In the case of the 'super', although not in all the premises, these packs are categorized between greengrocers, bakery or generic food.

Apart from retail distribution chains, the app has also agreed to distribute food packs from hotel groups, such as NH, Meliá or Barceló; of the food products of the Swedish group Ikea; franchise brands such as Santagloria, Manolo Bakes, Domino's Pizza or Bite the pasta; and from manufacturers, such as Danone and Unilever.

Too good to go started in 2016. It ensures that, in 2021, it managed to save the equivalent of 52.5 million meals, compared to 28.6 million in 2020. It operates in the United States, Canada and a large part of the Union Europe and in Spain it has more than 4.6 million users. A figure that, at the beginning of 2022, was at 4 million, a growth that is unknown if it can be attributed to the rise in inflation.

"We cannot determine if this has been caused by price escalation or not, although it may be one of the causes," says a company spokesperson. The goal, for the year as a whole, is to reach 5 million users in this market.

The problem of food that ends up in the garbage covers all the links in the chain of production and consumption. This was emphasized by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, in a interview with elDiario.es. “Everything goes in, because there is loss and waste in primary production, handling, distribution and consumption. The most expensive food is the one that is thrown away, because it is an environmentally, economically and morally wasted product”, he argued.

“It is an estimated figure, because we also have to improve transparency and the statistics that we have; but there are studies by FAO, the EU and the Ministry that place almost 30 kilos or liters per inhabitant and year of food loss and waste. FAO even says that between 20% and 30% of food production is thrown away. It is an unbearable figure because there are products that are in good condition”, concluded Planas.

From the legislative point of view, the Government approved last autumn, in the first round, the preliminary draft Law for the Prevention of Food Losses and Waste. The text establishes that all agents in the chain must have a prevention plan to avoid waste. Also a hierarchy of food priorities. The first, the use for human food, where donations to non-profit companies or food banks are contemplated.

The project also establishes that the food donated by manufacturers, distribution chains and restaurants must have sufficient shelf life to make its distribution possible and allow safe use by its final recipients.

In addition, food not sold, but that is in optimal conditions for consumption, must be transformed (such as juices or jam); and when they are not suitable for human consumption, they must be used as by-products for animal feed or feed manufacturing, for industry, to obtain compost for agricultural use, or to obtain fuels, such as biogas.

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