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Moneysaver: We try out French app to source cheap shop and cafe food

Mobile app allows venues to sell left-over products at a heavy discount which would otherwise be thrown away

Too Good To Go was launched in 2016 and today more than 15,000 businesses in France have signed up to use it Pic: szmuli / Shutterstock

There are several apps that allow you to buy unused food at heavily discounted rates that would otherwise be thrown out by shops, restaurants and cafes.

They are part of a growing anti-waste (anti-gaspi) movement, with around 10 million tonnes of food discarded each year in France, according to a 2016 study by environmental agency Ademe.

Arguably the most popular of these apps is called Too Good To Go, but others include Phenix, Karma, Mummyz and OptiMiam.

The Connexion tried Too Good To Go in Nice to see what was available.

The app was launched in 2016 and today more than 15,000 businesses in France have signed up to use it.

Registration is free and simple, requiring just an email address and password. 

An example of contents from Too Good To Go boxes in Nice. Pic: The Connexion

You then choose your location. There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of options in Nice, and other large cities are equally well served. Small towns or villages may not have as many but the company is expanding.

We chose a basket of fruit and veg products from a nearby organic shop at €3.99 and a basket of surprise goods from a bakery at €2.99.

Most products are given away in the evening: our shop and bakery had pick-up times between 17:30 and 19:00.

In most cases, you do not know in advance what you will get. We received a huge quantity of vegetables (some needed eating or cooking that day), five apples, an orange, goat’s cheese and even some cookies from the organic shop. The bakery gave us a slice of tarte tropézienne, a slice of pizza and a sandwich.

Both pick-ups were straightforward. There were no hidden costs or extra sales attempts. We were generally satisfied with what we got – especially considering the price.

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