Despite the best of intentions, most of us end up throwing away a lot of food every year. The creators of the app Too Good To Go couldn’t stand the waste any longer and came up with a solution. They developed an app that enables hotels, restaurants and supermarkets to sell unsold products that would otherwise go to waste. Community manager Annick Oosterlee and member Sebastiaan Wesseling put the initiative to the test and share their experiences.
Here’s how it works: first, open the Too Good To Go app and order a ‘magic box’ at one of the available locations. Then simply drop by and pick it up at the agreed time. Because no one knows in advance what’s going to be left over on any given day, the contents of your box will always be a surprise. So you have to be up for an experiment!
At Schiphol, there are plenty of Too Good To Go options to choose from: no less than eight locations are participating in the initiative. You can pick up leftover products at Café Bonjour, HEMA, Hilton Hotel, Famous Flavours and three Albert Heijn stores. We decided to try out three of the locations. Read on to see what we made of it all!
Meal box 1: Hilton Hotel
- Two croissants, two boiled eggs, two brownies, two slices of cheese, two waffles, fried egg, bacon, brie and a cup of coffee.
- Assessment: 4.4/5 🥄
With Too Good To Go, you can bag a breakfast at Hilton Hotel almost every day. For five euros, you can relive your holidays and queue up at the hotel buffet. You need to get a move on though: you only have a ten-minute time slot to put your breakfast together. No problem as far as we were concerned: we came away with a generous selection. You can choose whatever you want, and there are plenty of vegetarian options too. As a nice finishing touch, you can complete your breakfast with a free cup of coffee or tea.
If you’ve already had breakfast before you arrive at Schiphol, you can easily save your meal box for lunch. Even at the end of the day, our croissants were still fresh as could be. The boiled eggs also passed our test with flying colours. An example many a hotel kitchen could learn from. One small note of caution: when we arrived, there was still plenty to choose from. But depending on when you go, you may find that some items have already run out.
Vegetarian friendly 🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄
Surprise effect 🥄🥄🥄🥄
Value for money 🥄🥄🥄🥄
Final score 4.4 🥄
Meal box 2: Albert Heijn to Go
- Lemonade, two biscuits, one simple sandwich, two salads, one wrap, one deluxe sandwich, a pasta salad, a croissant and a tofu roll.
- Assessment: 4.6/5 🥄
A bumper package with plenty of variety and vegetarian options! We received the warmest of welcomes and our bags were ready and waiting. The staff explained why our bags were so full: unlike many other AH To Go outlets, this one is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. As a result, you get a lot of products that are good all weekend, but have to be taken off the shelves for Monday. A good tip for anyone with a healthy appetite! However, it would be better if customers could choose between an ‘all-in bag’ and a vegetarian version.
Vegetarian friendly 🥄🥄🥄🥄
Surprise effect 🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄
Value for money 🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄
Final score 4.6 🥄
Meal box 3: Café Bonjour (Esso)
- Two currant buns, two donuts, one croissant and a chicken wrap.
- Assessment: 2.6/5 🥄
Last and unfortunately least: we were rather unimpressed by the final meal box on our test run. The description in the app had us looking forward to a proper packed lunch, the kind you used to get at school camps: something healthy, something sweet and a drink. But this box didn’t really live up to its billing. The contents were fresh enough, but because everything had been kept in the fridge, the croissant had gone a bit limp. Not only that, but the donuts and currant buns were very dry and no drinks were included.
At least we were forewarned: the Too Good To Go app had tipped us off that this meal box would not be brimming with as many goodies as other outlets. After all, petrol station prices are higher as a rule, so you are bound to receive less value for money. That said, everything was ready and waiting for us at the agreed time.
Vegetarian friendly 🥄🥄🥄🥄
Surprise effect 🥄🥄🥄
Value for money 🥄🥄
Final score 2.6 🥄
You should think of the ‘magic box’ as a snapshot and a surprise: one time is bound to be better than another, but at least you know that you’re taking the sustainable option. That alone is a fun reason to try it out! At Café Bonjour we’ll probably skip the box next time in favour of one of their delicious freshly made sandwiches, but we really liked the other meal boxes. Our Too Good To Go experiment is definitely worth repeating, so keep an eye on Spot for another tasty trial run!
Have you already checked out some Too Good To Go options at Schiphol? Or perhaps you would like to give it a go too? Leave a comment and let us know!