You can save 50% or even more

TooGoodToGo and Phenix, two apps that aim to fight against food waste, highlight the success of their services in the context of inflation. The apps are widely established in the Paris region, with several thousand partner stores.

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In the face of rising prices, can anti-waste apps be a solution? Among the applications that offer to buy discounted baskets of unsold or close to expiration date products, Mathieu has been using TooGoodToGo in Paris for “about two years“, “from time to time“, from grocery stores and bakeries in his neighborhood.

You look on your phone, the stores that use the app indicate the available products and the time to pick them up, explains the 30-year-old employee. It all depends on the stores, but you can save 50% or even more. Often for baskets in the bakery, I can pay for example 5-6 euros for products that would usually cost 20-25 euros in total.

Sacha also uses the same app in Paris, “once a week“. “I’ve tested everything around my area and I’ve found the most profitable and coolest stores – two bakeries and a restaurant, says the 21-year-old student. A basket costs between 3 and 6 euros. Last time for a basket at the bakery, I got a salad, two sandwiches, three pastries, and a slice of pizza.

You can sometimes have bad surprises, a few items expired by a day or small mistakes, but these are usually exceptions and in general it’s very good quality. After that you have to respect the indicated hours, and the most popular stores are often out of stock quite early so you have to reserve well in advance“, Sacha adds. “There are sometimes cancellations but you are notified, Mathieu also explains. The hours are often restrictive because you have to wait, but you save a lot.” 

The ToGoodToGo app, present since 2016 in Île-de-France, says it has “noticed a real enthusiasm for anti-waste that has accelerated with inflation, both on the pro and consumer side“. “Between 2022 and 2023, the number of users increased by 30%“, says the company.

It also cites a study commissioned last summer, “which confirms the link between inflation and the adoption of anti-waste behaviors by consumers to cope with it, with daily gestures at home but also the use of anti-waste apps“.

It also allows to link economy and ecology, while we sometimes tend to oppose the two“, adds ToGoodToGo. Bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, restaurants, supermarkets, local convenience stores… In Île-de-France, the app explains that it works with 15,000 stores and brings together three million users. “We might expect an app used mainly by students, but that’s really not the most important part of our users. The distribution is almost equal between different age groups“, it specifies.

The company reports a total of “17 million meals saved since 2016 in Île-de-France“, out of a total of 70 million nationally.

For its part, the Phenix app, present for five years, indicates that “2 million baskets have been saved by consumers since 2020“, with a 30% increase between 2021 and 2022 in Île-de-France. While it specifies that “many factors other than inflation come into play“, the company emphasizes that “the search for savings is the key to the anti-waste movement“.

People are tracking every penny, we feel it when they call our customer service, continues Phenix. The second important parameter for consumer interest is the density of partner stores around them. And beyond the offer and prices, the ecological factor also plays a role but it is not necessarily the primary concern. What works the most are supermarkets, people are attracted to the lowest prices.

Among the users, there is a part of young people, students or early jobs, says the company. But the largest part is made up of women, mothers with one or two children, sometimes single parents, in the nearby suburbs or with fairly low incomes. There is an important social aspect.

At the regional level, the app says it brings together 3,800 partner stores.

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