Karolina Woźniak, PR Manager of Too Good To Go, an app that allows you to buy unused surpluses of wholesome meals at attractive prices, talks about how to work and live with a mindset of zero waste.
MW: Thank you very much for the invitation and for showing us around your office. Let's first talk about how the Too Good To Go app works and how it has been received in Poland?
KW: The app allows you to buy wholesome products that would otherwise have been thrown away. The app has been available in Poland since 2019. In the beginning we operated in Warsaw and Krakow, but now we have a presence in all of Poland’s major cities. Internationally, Too Good To Go is now helping to save food in more than 400 cities worldwide. The application is intuitive. You just need to install it on your phone and based on your geolocation, you can immediately see which restaurants and stores have available meals. The user reserves and pays for the package and can collect it at a specified time. Each surprise parcel contains fresh products which have not been sold that day. If we pick up an order from a bakery, we can expect bread or pastries. Packages from the shop, on the other hand, are most often divided into fruit and vegetable as well as a mix of items that may contain cold cuts or other products that, for example, have a short shelf life.
MW: Can we use the app in the evening if we are planning a dinner with friends?
KW: Certainly. Just check what food is currently available. If we have our favourite café or restaurant, we can also reserve a package for the next day. In our application there are locations with ready-made dishes as well as with products such as fruit or vegetables. We also cooperate with catering companies.
MW: How much does a meal cost using the app?
KW: By using the app we don't waste food and at the same time we do something good for the planet. Meals can cost about 30% less than the normal selling price.
MW: What kind of businesses do you work with?
KW: Our offer includes not only restaurants, but also hotels, vegetable shops, retail chains and food producers who, instead of throwing away their surplus food, sell them through our app.
MW: The Too Good To Go app prevents food from being thrown away. What challenges do you see in reducing food waste, shopping sensibly and making the best use of products?
KW: We still need to be educated on this issue. The very fact that 60% of food goes to waste at home shows how much there is still to do. We often buy more than we need, which means that huge amounts of food end up in the bin. Wasting food also contributes to global warming. It is worth remembering that without reducing waste, it may be impossible to stop catastrophic climate change. If everyone stopped throwing food away, it would cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030.
MW: You recently ran a campaign on social media about how to correctly read the expiry date on products.
KW: Yes. We launched the "Often good for longer" campaign to raise awareness among more than half of all Poles about the difference between the "use by" and "best before" labels. In the first case, the 'use by' date is a deadline. This applies above all to quickly perishable products such as meat or fish. The second label - "best before" - is the date of minimum stability of the product and indicates the date until which the product looks, smells and tastes the best (retaining its qualities). However, this product is still edible after the stated date (it does not mean that a product which has passed its best before date has to be thrown away immediately). Many people, unaware of this rule, throw away a product if the minimum shelf date on the package has passed, assuming that the product is out of date. We try to educate people not to throw away products that are still fit for consumption.
MW: We are talking in your new office, which is located in a quiet and secluded building. What aspects played the biggest role in choosing your new office?
KW: We were most concerned about the well-being and comfort of our employees. We are located in a secluded and quiet place, and the office building is surrounded by a lot of greenery. When choosing this place, we wanted everyone to feel comfortable here.
MW: Your office is very cosy. Did anyone help you design it?
KW: Yes, we had the support of an agency that helped us find these furniture treasures. Even the chairs we're sitting on didn't originally look like this. They have been renovated. We changed their colour to make them fit in with the office arrangement. As you can see, it doesn't take much to have nice furniture which doesn’t needlessly waste our planet’s resources.
MW: What other zero waste solutions can we find in your office?
KW: When designing the office we wanted to arrange the space with the use of furniture which we could breathe new life into. We were obviously guided by the idea of zero waste, because why buy something new when you can successfully use second-hand furniture. The pandemic has caused some offices to close or downsize, while others have been rearranged, so there is plenty of furniture to choose from.
MW: You mentioned that your office space is slowly becoming insufficient for your needs.
KW: We are significantly expanding the team which is working on the application’s development and increasing the number of places where it can be used. Today we are present not only in the largest cities, but also in smaller locations. We want to reach many more people in new locations so that we can help them save food from going to waste. This is the reason why we continue to hire new talents. Our team currently numbers around 30 people, but we plan on doubling this figure.
Our office is not just a place to work. We try to ensure that our employees feel comfortable here. For example, we regularly have breakfast together. We also organise yoga workshops. We have a special space for this which if necessary, can be transformed into a work room.
MW: We have been talking for over an hour now and indeed your office arrangement creates a very friendly and cosy atmosphere.
KW: I'm glad you feel the same way because we love our office. We have lots of greenery and a cosy decor. I think everyone treats this place as a nice space to work in rather than a regular, typical office.
MW: Thank you very much for the interview and I wish you every success for the future.
KW: Thank you!