WITH the cost of living crisis driving up food prices, the popularity of apps like Too Good to Go have soared.
The app allows you to find local shops and restaurants selling surplus food at a hefty discount.
Freelancer writer Amanda Nicholson, 42, who lives in Manchester, spent a week using the Too Good to Go app to see how it works – and crucially if it can save her money.
Here she writes about her experience:
My husband Andy, 50, and I usually spend £40 to £50 a week on our food shop.
As I work as a freelance writer working from home, I’m often eating quick, cheap meals such as toast or cereal.
Whereas my husband works as an admin officer, bringing in his lunch and or buying it while at the office.
We try to keep eating out to a minimum of once a week.
The upside to using Too Good To Go is that you can get a bag of food for £3 that is worth upto £12 in value – but the catch is that you might not get to choose the contents.
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But the key to nabbing bargains is knowing when they drop on the app, as some are very popular and disappear within seconds of going live.
I got off to a good start on Wednesday.
My food bag from Costa was £3 and was stuffed with goodies from M&S, it provided a filling lunch for both myself and husband.
This meant the meal cost was £1.50 per person.
When I ordered, there were three bags available, so if I had a family to feed, I could have ordered more bags.
Di giovedì, I wasn’t home, so ordered food from Bagel Factory in the centre of Manchester, knowing I’d be passing through around that time.
There was only enough for a meal for me; the toasted bagel and a blueberry muffin and I had leftover for lunch the next day.
Il locale Gregg near me often lists the food bags at the same time on a Thursday, for the next afternoon.
Così, I was halfway through eating my bagel when I used the app to snap up the last Greggs bag.
These went quickly. I was checking every few minutes, and still almost missed out.
I spent £2.59 and we got £10.65 worth of food. Very decent. It included two baguettes and doughnuts.
Things became more challenging when I tried to get food for Saturday.
My local Morrisons states the time to check on the app. I was refreshing every two minutes just before and after that time but I still managed to miss out.
Anziché, I ordered the last Starbucks Borsa, but collection was between 19:30 e 20:00, which was pretty late.
Di sabato, I tried Morrisons again and managed to get a bag this time. I got £12 worth of food for just over £3.
This was probably the best one, if you’re looking for fruit and veg. There was enough there to feed a family for a day or two, providing they already had other food items they could cook with this.
There was also a lot of bread, but if you have the freezer space, the excess can be frozen, then defrosted before you use it.
We mixed the food with items we already had and got a couple of meals out of it, and will be eating toast and crumpets for weeks.
I finished the experiment with two bags from Upper Crust, because some of the other bags left us both a little hungry.
While this could be split across a family of four if you were really struggling, it’s not ideal, and there are cheaper ways to feed the family with more filling food.
Supermarket bags through the app are probably the best value, because they contain groceries you can put towards a meal.
Places like Costa and Gregg were good value for ‘treat’ foods like pre-made sandwiches, and cakes, but most of the bags contained items we wouldn’t have eaten otherwise.
The overall cost of the food through the app, combined with the other food we ate (between £10 – £15 worth), was around the same as what we usually spend in a week.
Sebbene, we did less cooking, so will have saved money on electricity.
The doughnuts we had for breakfast clearly weren’t healthy, and we wouldn’t usually buy so many cakes.
In an attempt to vary the food, I made sure I used different food outlets. All'inizio, this was convenient because these were a short walk away.
As the week went on, it required more effort to choose bags that would be available at specific times at places I would be near.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about and trying to get food through the app, but less time cooking.
Wednesday – Costa (£3) RRP next to each item, but price may vary in different stores
- Smoked bacon breakfast bap £3.25
- 2 M&S branded sandwiches (egg & watercress £2.50, and tuna and sweetcorn £3.10)
- A 205g container of chicken, tomato, basil and pasta salad £3.10
Thursday – Bagel Factory (£3.90)
- 1 toasted bagel filled with cheese and bacon £5.65
- 2 unfilled bagels £4 in total
- 1 blueberry muffin £2.50
Friday – Greggs (£2.59)
- 1 Cheese and ham baguette £2.70
- 1 Chicken club baguette £2.75
- Pack of 2 ring doughnuts £1.40 total
- Pack of 4 pink jammie doughnuts £3.80 in total
Saturday – Pasty Shop (£3.99)
- 2 pasties (1 cornish, e 1 beef) approx total £10
- 1 small Danish approx £2
Starbucks (£ 4,50)
- 2 sausage sandwiches total £8
- 1 turkey and cheddar sandwich £3.80
- 1 blueberry muffin £1.59
Sunday – Morrisons (£3.09)
- Various loaves of bread, crumpets, fruit loaves £5
- Different fruit, vegetables, potatoes, etc £7
Lunedi – Didn’t get a bag (was still eating the contents of the Morrisons bag)
martedì – 2 bags from Upper Crust (totalling £7.98)
- 2 filled baguettes total £7.40
- 2 filled rolls £6.60
- 2 croissants £4
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The total value of all the food was £90.14, but the total spend using the app was £29.05.
This works at at a total saving of £61.09.