Perhaps you have noticed that I enjoy food. I like to shop at markets, try new cooking classes, and seek out the very best restaurants in Rome. I also hate wasting food. That is why I was thrilled to discover Too Good to Go.
Too Good to Go is an app that allows grocery stores, pastry shops, bakeries, restaurants – any kind of food seller – to connect with willing customers at the end of the day to sell their left over goods at deep discounts.
The aim is to be win-win: the stores don’t have to throw food away, and the consumers get a mystery bag of goodies. In fact, the packages are called Magic Bags.
Too Good to Go does not seem to be in very many US locations right now, but they have fairly good coverage in Europe. In Rome, you can find major supermarkets and local coffee bars who are all using the service.
Inside the app, you can browse what is available by pick up time (e.g. maybe you want something for lunch verses for dinner), or by location.
The offerings in Rome tend to be priced at €3.99 for something that should be a €12 value, or €4.99 for a €15 value.
For each retailer, you can also see if other people were happy with their mystery bags. Some places get high ratings for quality of food, but lower stars for amount of food, or vice versa.
You pay for the secret bag by credit card, Apple Pay, or PayPal within the app so all you have to do is go pick it up at the store. Once there, you swipe “Collect” within the app and the bag is yours to take away.
The pickup process is usually easy. Most of the time, the mystery bag is packed and ready to go. Other times, they will put something together for you on the spot.
Too Good to Go is a great option if you aren’t picky and have space in your meal plan to adapt to whatever is thrown your way.
I tend to look at what is close by because the window for pick up is usually very short. Remember, the stores are trying to reduce waste, so they will only put the bag together right before closing time. Before you claim anything within the app, be sure you will be able to pick it up at the specific day and time because there is no flexibility there.
The app isn’t a great option if you have food allergies or specific preferences. That is because you don’t have control over what goes into your Magic Bag. The contents are entirely up to the store that is offering the special.
I think that the mystery is part of the fun, and the deals are pretty irresistible.
Recently, we booked a €3.99 bag at a bakery/tavola calda. We found a gigantic sack waiting for us, which held: a small bag of biscotti, a small bag of frappe and castagnole, two cornetti, a fresh full loaf of bread, two buns, 2 slices each of pizza bianca, pizza margarita, and zucchini pizza, and a container of oven roasted potatoes.
Two weeks before, €3.99 meant 14 (!!!) ciambelle, cornetti, and other full sized pastries at a pasticceria.
In my experience, street food places tend to give the least (but it is very good). Like this poke-style bowl:
I have yet to try any fruit and vegetable shops because I honestly don’t know how I would manage a huge amount of very ripe produce.
At the end of the day, I like the mission and the value you get from Too Good to Go – and I hope you have a chance to try it soon, too! (And as always, this is not a sponsored post! I legit love and use the app and want more people to know about it). If you are looking for more budget options, here are the best free things to do in Rome , and where to eat for cheap in Rome.