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New food waste app can get you a top meal for a couple of quid... and it's coming to Northern Ireland

Dr Ian Garner

It's the sensational new app people in the UK are making a real meal of - allowing users to snap up leftover dishes from leading restaurants for just a couple of quid.

Too Good To Go, an initiative founded by people disturbed by the amount of good food going to waste, was launched in the UK in June.

Cafes, bakeries, juice bars and takeaways, which are vetted to ensure no additional profit is made from the venture, have been rushing to sign up.

But nobody from Northern Ireland - where we throw away something like £42m worth of food every year - has bitten yet.

That's about to change, however, with TGTG co-founder Chris Williams revealing to the Belfast Telegraph that we are on his radar.

"Wherever there's food waste there's scope for us to help, and we'd certainly love to come to Northern Ireland," he said.

"We're actively looking for people to take TGTG to new cities and Belfast is certainly somewhere we'd like to be in the not too distant future."

Food waste management expert Dr Ian Garner, who represents recycling group WRAP NI, said that wasteful locals would benefit from the initiative.

"That £42m is an awful lot of money for a country of our size with 1.8 million people to be throwing away each year," he said. "But that's what it costs the food and hospitality sector to buy the food, prepare it and then throw it away, which is why waste prevention is the ultimate goal.

"I think the app would be good for Northern Ireland. We need to help bring about the prevention of food waste in the first instance. This new technology seems geared towards that."

Using the app Too Good To Go - which was founded in Denmark last year but is now operational in France, Switzerland and the UK - is simple. Consumers can search for meals from a variety of venues across the country and then collect their discounted meal at an agreed time before the establishment closes.

"We are offering a means of proving that much of what we waste as a society is not actually 'waste' at all, but actually perfectly edible food that we should be appreciating as our most valuable energy resource and not taking for granted as something to just throw in the bin," added Mr Williams.

"Our immediate hopes are to roll the app out nationwide and add to our number of participating restaurants, cafes and bakeries as we look to save as much food as possible from being sent to landfill."

App users are asked to select from a list of nearby restaurants via the app, order, collect with the receipt and dig in with eco-friendly sugar cane takeaway boxes.

It is currently operational in Birmingham, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and London, where it was launched last week.

It is hoped the initiative will help reduce the 600,000 tonnes of edible food that gets binned in the UK every year and there are hopes it will roll out to the rest of the UK and overseas over the coming months.

It is a win-win with the app as people can afford food served at high-calibre restaurants and companies can avoid food waste.

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