"Too Good To Go" against foodwaste

23.05.2019
Interview

9 million app users, 18,000 participating businesses in Europe, 11 countries: the "Too Good To Go" success story is second to none. CEO Mette Lykke has launched a successful business model against food waste over the past three years. She reveals her secret of success at the GDI Retail Summit from 5 to 6 September 2019 and in an interview.

Mette Lykke

Too Good to Go is growing fast. Were you surprised by its huge success?

When Too Good To Go was born in 2016 as a dream of a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to stand up against food waste, no one imagined that only three years later that project would become a global movement as it is today. Nowadays, we are in 11 countries, and together with more than 9 million Waste Warriors and over 18,000 businesses in Europe, we have saved more than 12 million meals from being wasted and saved more than 24 million kilos of carbon dioxide emissions into Earth’s atmosphere. These numbers keep growing day by day. We are, of course, surprised by the amazing response from people in every country we have launched so far, but most importantly, we are proud of changing the rules of the game whilst taking care of the environment by reducing the amount of food thrown away every day in Europe. All this is thanks to our Waste Warriors community and the awesome partners we have, together with the effort, enthusiasm and commitment of more than 270 employees who make Too Good To Go an ever-growing movement.

How important is the fact that you started your company in Denmark?

Denmark is an advanced, open minded and sustainable country which helped us a lot to develop our concept at the very beginning and find our very first early adopters from both sides - users and partners. An advantage of starting in a small country is that your home market is so small you have to think internationally from day one. However, since food waste is a global issue, it was always the mission for Too Good To Go to fight it globally.

Reducing food waste from retailers and restaurants is a crucial first step. Yet, the main culprits seem to be the customers. How could they be engaged to stop throwing away food at home?

We know that households are where the biggest amount of food waste is generated – half of the waste happens in our homes. In order to reduce it, it is necessary that consumers become aware of the environmental impact it has and not just of the money wasted. Information is needed to change people's mindset and that’s why we want to inspire and educate consumers. Every time you save a meal through our app you will see a message telling you that each magic box means saving the CO2 emission equivalent to a car driving 7.9 km. We also give tips and recipes to prevent food from being wasted. Finally, we have a big educational effort where we teach kids about the value of food and help them regain respect for food as a resource. We’ve already touched thousands of kids and the ambition is to offer free educational material on food waste globally.

Nowadays, consumers want their products right here, right now. Can we achieve sustainability in spite of this trend?

Consumers are becoming more demanding across all industries. Digital products and services, on-demand products, customized services, among others. However, we believe that achieving sustainability in the 'here-and-now' model of consumption is possible and also needed. In Too Good To Go we’re proving it can work since every day tens of thousands of people go out to pick up their magic boxes in between of their tight routines.

Overproduction is another problem that needs to be tackled. Do you have any projects there?

The ideal situation is that any food business only produce the food that is going to be consumed, but this is practically impossible. Stores must have products to offer to their potential customers while they are open. We help stores, retailers and restaurants to avoid overproduction by selling the surplus food through the app. We also have our own store in Copenhagen, where producers and manufacturers can sell all those products that they cannot sell in supermarket shelves for different reasons. And, of course, we are working on other ideas to fight food waste and empower everyone to avoid and control overproduction.

Mette Lykke will be speaking at the 69th International Retail Summit from 5 to 6 September 2019. Get the early bird discount now!