The Too Good To Go app helps minimize food waste by offering surplus food at a discount.
The company, headquartered in London, England, was founded in 2015 by Brian Christensen, Thomas Bjørn Momsen, Stian Olesen, Klaus Bagge Pedersen, and Adam Sigbrand.
The app is simple: customers can choose from a list of restaurants registered on Too Good To Go and place an order. They may opt to get a “surprise bag” (typically in bakeries) or a specific food in bulk (for instance, 300 grams from a buffet).
The surprise bags contain unsold food from cafes and bakeries. To make it fair, foods in TGTG are sold at reduced prices, which can be as low as two bucks. Aside from restaurants, Too Good To Go alsow orks with groceries and other food-related businesses.
Early in 2022, the firm announced that it would work with several US grocery stores that offer same-day delivery. With this, customers no longer need to pick up groceries by themselves. Needless to say, TGTG didn’t forget its advocacy, as the food was delivered by electric scooters instead of the typical fuel-dependent cars.
The idea for Too Good To Go started at the university where the founders met. One day, Momsen left a buffet and observed that many still-consumable foods were still there. It wasn’t easy for them, though, to convince restaurants of the business potential that selling leftover food is.
Check out TGTG's founding story and business model here.
But in 2015, after getting a couple of restaurants to try the venture, Momsen and his other co-founders finally launched Too Good To Go in Copenhagen. They served their first meal in the city in March 2016 and quickly penetrated the other 14. Meanwhile, its biggest launch to date was TGTG’s expansion into the US in 2020.
At first, the company found it hard to remove the idea of eating food scraps from people’s minds. But after all their efforts to correct misconceptions, people understood that this was a good way to reduce waste.
So far, Too Good To Go has sold 171 million bags (over 188,000 tons) of leftover but safely edible food from over 174,000 registered food providers. With the amount of food the company has saved, the “food waste warrior” has already saved more than 470,000 tons of CO2.
According to estimates, the Too Good To Go app is used by 66.5 million people. The company has raised $45.7 million in total funding thus far.
The methodology with which Too Good To Go competitors are ranked is based on various data points. Information such as the number of users, the number of partners it has onboarded, the total funding raised, and its environmental impact are all considered.
This analysis is limited to leftover food services only. Thus, other food providers and services, such as food and grocery apps, supermarkets, restaurants, and the like, are excluded.
However, this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement for any of below-listed services. It merely summarizes the competition that Too Good To Go faces today.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the top 7 competitors of Too Good To Go.
Headquarters: London, England Founder(s): Saasha Celestial-One and Tessa Clarke Year Founded: 2015
Olio is a food-sharing platform that allows users with excess food to share it with those in need. It works as a “freemium” app, offering free and subscription-based services. Unlike Too Good To Go, Olio claims to be a non-profit venture.
For founder Celestial-One, food waste is a personal issue. Raised by hippy entrepreneurs, she grew up valuing every meal she ate. After working briefly at an investment bank, Saasha moved to the UK, where she met Clarke.
Clarke is a farmer’s daughter, which explains why she shared the same concern Saasha has regarding food waste. She had also only recently moved back to the UK when the idea of a food-sharing platform struck her, having experienced first-hand how relevant such a service might be.
Although both aim to reduce food waste, Olio and TGTG tackle it from different angles. While Olio offers neighbor-to-neighbor sharing for free, the app charges businesses and subscribers. With neighbor-to-neighbor sharing, individual and ordinary users can snap photos of their scraps, which those in need can reach through the app.
In addition, Olio utilizes local volunteers. Also called “Food Waste Heroes,” these people collect leftover foods from restaurants and supermarkets for people who need them. Aside from food, the company also established Olio Borrow, where users can lend household items to each other.
Olio saved 65 million portions of food from an estimated 6.3 million users, which is only one percent of that of TGTG. Olio currently houses about 18,000 organizations—14,000 of which are businesses, and 4,000 are non-businesses.
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden Founder(s): Elsa Bernadotte, Hjalmar Ståhlberg Nordegren, Ludvig Berling, Mattis Larsson Year Founded: 2015
Karma is a free app and website that lets restaurants sell food leftovers to consumers online. Although a bit behind TGTG, Karma is among the most prominent tech startups in its home country Sweden. The platform is also becoming popular in the UK and France.
The founders had known each other since college, and each already had experience in entrepreneurship. Upon reconnecting, the four knew they wanted to make an impact. They originally developed the app to cater to daily deals, but changes in the market prompted the management to focus on surplus food.
The venture was, at first, not well received by users and failed for nine months. But after meeting with restaurants and conducting market research, Karma found success in London in 2018.
Some believe the company’s success in the UK is because of the differing perceptions of English and Swedish people regarding food. Most Swedish are used to ordering unique meal sets, while Englishmen have a simpler, grab-to-go attitude.
Karma has long since gone from its day of offering daily items to focusing only on food. The app is free for all users who want to purchase unsold food from restaurants. Most revenues of Karma come from the commission they take on every food sold on the platform.
Unlike TGTG, though, Karma lets customers use its website to lessen the hassle for non-app users. Restaurants, cafes, groceries, and other food providers list unsold products on their own time (but most are listed between 2 and 6 pm).
Aside from individual cravings, Karma encourages users to share food through Karma Gift Cards. With Gift Cards, partner restaurants have more chances of selling unsold food.
Karma has already saved 4 million meals, equivalent to 1,200 tonnes of food and 1,800 tonnes of CO2 today. Currently serving only three countries, 1.4 million consumers and 9,200 businesses use the Karma platform. The company has raised $20.2 million in funding to date.
Headquarters: Toronto, Canada Founder(s): Josh Domingues Year Founded: 2016
Flashfood is another medium through which food providers can sell unsold items. The platform primarily focuses on meat products, fresh produce, and other grocery items. Flashfood carved its name in the US and Canada as a go-to market for cheap groceries, offering up to 50% off the retail price.
Founder Josh Domingues worked in finance and consulting before Flashfood, barely aware of anything about food waste and environmental efforts. It all started when his sister expressed frustration when her boss told her to throw out $4,000 worth of food.
That made him curious about the “business side” of the topic, given his background in finance and consulting. “If food waste were a country, it could be one of the three biggest sources of greenhouse gases, along with the US and China,” Domingues realized.
This realization led him to establish Flashfood in 2016. Unlike TGTG and other competitors, Flashfood is focused on grocery items and sell-by dates. So while TGTG is where you’ll most likely find cheaply priced cakes unsold in the bakery during the day, Flashfood is where you’ll buy half-priced meat products and the like.
Usually, partner establishments list products on Flashfood one to three days before their “deadline” date. And with 50% off of their original prices, such products will still end up in people’s stomachs rather than the garbage bin.
Flashfood has raised $16.3 million in funding to date. But that’s not all—the company has also saved 25,000 tons of food and roughly 48,000 tons of CO2. Over 2.5 million people use the app as their food-saving partner.
Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland Founder(s): Aoibheann O'Brien, Iseult Ward Year Founded: 2013
FoodCloud is a platform that fights food waste by letting partner businesses distribute food surplus through charities. This enterprise is a non-profit venture which only charges retailers to fund operating expenses.
Known as the “women who solve food waste problems in Ireland,” founders O’Brien and Ward began as college friends embarking on a school project. The two, however, were driven by their passion for feeding the hungry, seeing how restaurants throw so much leftover food out each day.
The plan soon sprouted into a partnership with a bakery and cafe. Back then, this small scope of partners was not enough for the charities they had gotten in touch with. With that, they started to partner with nearby retailers. Their breakthrough, however, came when they partnered with grocery giant Tesco, which they continue to do to this date.
Unlike TGTG, FoodCloud works with community groups, which are then the ones who will distribute the food to those in need. So while TGTG’s customers are the food consumers themselves, FoodCloud has charities as their primary customers.
So, where does FoodCloud get the funds to continue its venture? As with TGTG, it is the retailers that FoodCloud charges for every food sold on the app. However, FoodCloud tends to impose fewer fees since the platform is not focused on making profits.
Currently, FoodCloud takes pride in the 140 million meals it saved, equivalent to roughly 59,000 tonnes of food and 188,000 tonnes of CO2. The organization is now trusted by over 180 partners, 10,000 individual users, and 500 corporate partners. To date, FoodCloud has already raised $126,000 in funding.
Headquarters: Paris, France Founder(s): Baptiste Corval, Jean Moreau Year Founded: 2014
PHENIX is a platform that fights food waste by letting restaurants and shops sell excess food in baskets. Starting in France, the company gradually grew to include Spain, Portugal, and Belgium.
Before PHENIX, founder Moreau worked in the banking industry for a long time. However, he grew more and more interested in the issue of food waste. And this is where his and co-founder Corval’s interests met.
Back then, the two only wanted to create a platform where food manufacturers could sell their excess food products to other businesses that needed them, including livestock, food banks, and the like.
With this business scope of customers, PHENIX served as a medium that reduced food waste by “recycling” it. Since sell-by and expiration dates wouldn’t matter in other businesses, this one has the best chance of promoting “zero waste.”
However, as food-sharing apps became more popular, PHENIX expanded its services to individual consumers. Nonetheless, the platform continues to be among the leading companies regarding business-to-business transactions.
Today, PHENIX works much like TGTG does (except for the business-to-business feature, which TGTG doesn’t have). But while TGTG sells scrap food in a surprise bag, PHENIX groups food in baskets.
The content of this basket does not come as a surprise, as the PHENIX app lets shoppers order a basket of their choice. While TGTG users have only restaurants as options, PHENIX ensures that no allergy triggers or undesirable food is delivered to your door.
With its wide market range, it is no surprise that PHENIX saved more volumes of food than Too Good To Go, with over 200 million meals (equivalent to 330,000 tonnes of food and 500,000 tonnes of CO2). PHENIX is used by more than 5 million users while helping over 30,000 businesses to be less wasteful.
6. Misfits Market
Headquarters: Pennsauken, New Jersey Founder(s): Abhi Ramesh Year Founded: 2018
Misfits Market is a subscription-based platform that helps consumers save organically sourced products that are near to ending up in the garbage. All those organic and healthy products come at higher prices, and Misfits Market tries to make them cheaper by offering “ugly” or rejected but still-safe produce.
Ramesh got inspired to form the business one day when he went apple-picking in Pennsylvania. Seeing how many fruits were left on the ground, he realized that this wasteful practice could be profitable.
In addition, Ramesh lived in Philadelphia for a long time, and he always found it hard to buy fresh produce at a lower price. So after the day at the apple farm, Ramesh started to visit other farms to assess if the business was possible.
With that, another app against food waste was launched in 2018. What makes Misfits Market unique is that it is based on subscription. Users can shop through points, which depend on the plan they signed up for.
Although the “a la carte grocer” is free, users under this membership can only purchase a box that contains assorted items delivered every week. However, those with a weekly grocery plan can change their suggested cart. Still, it depends on the available products that Misfits Market will be able to supply during the week.
Compared to TGTG, Misfits Market is more inclined to “ugly produce” items, including meat, dairy, and the like. In fact, they own the supply chain of non-GMO products across 44 states in the US. And while TGTG is a marketplace for food, Misfits Market fulfills orders themselves.
The company sources its products from farmers and farming hubs. And since the suppliers can only sell limited quantities of products, Misfits Market publishes recipe blogs on its platform to give grocers ideas on how to use the weekly boxes.
Misfits Market was able to secure 400,000 active users in the areas it serves. Currently, they have already delivered 11 million orders, which is approximately 114,000 tons of food. Per the latest reports, Misfits Market raised $526.5 million in funding.
Headquarters: Quebec, Canada Founder(s): Jonathan Defoy Year Founded: 2019
FoodHero is another food sustainability platform that mainly offers grocery items and fresh food, such as meat, fruits, and dairy. The company’s principle relies on breaking the stigma against sell-by dates, as most food stays consumable for days after that date.
Before starting FoodHero, Defoy had worked on technology projects for 20 years, such as Biztree, Offline, and many others. With the growing call for environmental initiatives, Defoy decided to venture into an eco-friendly but still profitable business.
His small team of 20 people immediately gained agreements and investments from big companies like Metro and Sobeys. Today, FoodHero has found its forte—the company advocates raising awareness about sell-by dates.
Moreover, the Canadian-based company stands firm on the country’s law that says sell-by dates aren’t required but are just a reference for stores. FoodHero also regularly releases blogs with tips on saving food already past its expiration date.
Unlike Too Good To Go, FoodHero focuses more on grocery items. And while the TGTG marketplace sells excess buffets from restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, FoodHero sells what are more likely to become ingredients for a recipe.
The company’s efforts to eliminate the “sell-by date” scare among consumers are worth it, as 500,000 people and over 300 merchants now use FoodHero. After three years of operations, the platform has saved 500 million meals and more than 110,000 tons of CO2.