Just over three months into the year and I am happy to confirm that my food bill has dropped to less than a third of what it was before all through the use of various Food waste apps and local organisations. Not only am I saving money and stopping food from going to landfill but we are also cooking more creatively as we try out various recipes to use the items we save. This article will look at the various apps and organisations that I use to save food and money.
Too Good To Go
This mobile app is used by shops and restaurants to sell food that is either past it’s best before or that didn’t sell that day. It can be a little bit hit and miss with what you get but by looking at the star ratings you can usually see what is good and what isn’t. We use Too Good To Go to pick up Morrisons Magic Bags which cost £3.09. We are lucky that we have 4 Morrisons shops within easy reach of our house but they are all very different. One of ours give one paper bag of bread-based items, usually with at least one sweet treat in them and one paper bag of fruit and vegetables, others give a large banana box filled with a mixture of fruit and veg and bread products. One of our local ones does just one bag but it tends to include some fridge items such as stir fry noodles or salad bowls. It really does vary so I recommend giving it a try a few times if you were disappointed the first time. One thing people do say is that they struggle to get the magic bags as each store only does 3 a day. I look at the time that the magic bags sold out the day before and then set an alarm on my phone for a few minutes before that. This allows me to keep refreshing the app until the bags become available. We have also bought Costa Coffee bags which contained 3/4 toasties or sandwiches and Greggs bags which contained a variety of pasties, sausage rolls and sweet treats. With a lot of restaurants closed at the moment we have had less chance to use those but we have bought from a local curry house using the app and received a full meal with poppadoms for just £4 which was a real bargain. This is definitely trial and error and you never know what you are going to get so if you have allergies or are fussy eaters then this might not be the best for you.
Another great Mobile app but this time you are collecting (or giving away) food with local people. This is really good if you have products that you just won’t use and I tend to use this to give away any items from the food waste collections that I do that I just know we won’t use either because we have too much or because it isn’t something we eat. The app has Food waste heroes who arrange to go to shops such as Tesco and collect all of the items on best before that day and pop them on the app for local people to collect from their houses. OLIO is also good for having a clear-out of non-food items as well and we have been really successful in getting rid of a few old toys and clothes that the kids outgrew.
Local Food Waste clubs
This takes a little bit of research but I have managed to find a few different charities/organisations close to me that offer a weekly Food Club where you save food from landfill after it has been donated by local companies. The contents and price vary but there is usually a small annual fee and then you pay for each collection that you do. The two we use are from Family Action (£1 a year and £3.50 per collection) and That Bread and Butter Thing (£7 per collection). You may find similar initiatives called community fridges near to you so it is worth have a look online to see what you can find. The food from these clubs really varies but usually includes some fruit and vegetables, bread products as well as meal products suitable for making meals from. The Friday collection from That Bread and Butter Thing also includes some catering items which have been a real treat.
Food waste shops online
Although this is something I have not yet used it is certainly something that interests me. Earth and Wheat are a wonky bread box that costs just £6.99 per box that you can get weekly or fortnightly and includes bakery-quality bread products often fresher than you would get in the supermarkets. Oddbox is a fruit and vegetable box that contains oddly shaped produce that does not meet the strict requirements of the supermarket buyers. Approved Foods allows you to choose what you would like to receive and you fill a box for a certain delivery cost, if the items you buy go above the box weight or size then the delivery cost goes up but you can add more items to fill that box as well. Approved Food usually sells food past the best before date alongside other items.
I hope that these tips will help you to save food from landfill and maybe reduce your food shopping costs as well.