Aldi have announced that a number of their UK stores have joined the Too Good To Go app – this is a ‘food waste’ reduction service where you pay a set fee for a certain amount of surplus food from a range of local shops or eateries.
It’s a simple-ish system if you are online at a time when slots / pickups are available. You make payment, you are given a set time for collection, and you are then the proud owner of a ‘magic bag’ of groceries that would have otherwise been thrown away before you can say ‘middle aisle chainsaw.’
As Wednesday 1st February was the big launch day for Aldi after a number of trials, I managed to bag a bag from a local branch in South Essex. The app is pretty easy to use and on iPhone it accepts Apple Pay so the whole process is done and dusted in seconds. The deal? You are guaranteed at least £10-worth of Aldi groceries for £3.30.
A short drive later, and as I entered the store a couple of staff members were excitedly loading up the ‘magic bags’ that turned out to be great big boxes – a good first impression. Me and another guy were told that we were their first-ever customers for this service, and so obviously I will be telling my grandchildren about this in the years to come.
To collect your order, you just ‘swipe’ to confirm your arrival and show your unique code to a member of staff. This is when I was presented with a box containing a varied selection of meat, fruit, veg and baked items.
IMPORTANT: Every experience will be different as it depends upon the items that are ‘almost going off’ at the end of the trading day. To be fair, everything looked super-fresh to me, but again social media chatter tells me that it varies from branch to branch. It’s literally a lucky dip.
I asked staff about whether or not this initiative will affect food bank donations and similar giving corporately, and I was told that there is another arrangement in place for this which was good to hear.
I got my box home, dropped it while fiddling with my keys, and somehow managed not to wake up any of the four kids. Here’s what I had …
A pretty decent selection as I happen to love tomatoes in both cherry and plum form, and with the meatballs, cooked Mexican chicken and potatoes there were a couple of dinner and lunch possibilities. Nice cream doughnuts as well – apparently if they are long they still count as ‘doughnuts.’ Pomegranate seeds are always nice to snack on, everyone eats bananas, and I’m sure I’ll find something to do with the weird asparagusy-looking stuff in the bottom-left.
Aldi reckons that this initiative will prevent 4,000 tonnes of food waste per year, and on another level there are decent savings to be made on the produce if you are prepared to be flexible with whatever you end up with. Over time, you’re bound to get good selections and not so good ones, but every little helps. Well I know that’s the other supermarket, but anyway.