Magic Box effective tool against food waste

Published on
October 29, 2019

The Too Good To Go app allows consumers to purchase a Magic Box with food products that would otherwise be thrown away by shops. Wageningen University & Research has shown that buyers actually consume around 90% of the contents, demonstrating that Too Good To Go is an effective concept for reducing food waste.

Bread, dairy products, vegetables or ready-to-eat meals; shops can offer all the (fresh) food that is still good to use but cannot be sold the next day to consumers in a Magic Box via Too Good To Go. Buyers pay approximately one third of the normal price for the box. Quantitative research among over 600 Too Good To Go users and focus group conversations show that reducing food waste is the main motivation to participate (35%). Other reasons include the surprise effect (26%) and the reduced price (20%). Users seem very motivated not to waste anything. Only 8% of the respondents throw away their leftovers from the Magic Box, preferring to share them with family and friends, use the next day or freeze for later.

Positive stimulus

Too Good To Go has over 17 million users in 13 European countries, including one million in the Netherlands. Participants in the research value the ease-of-use of the simple search and pay functions of the app. Other positive factors are the choice of pick-up location (often in their own neighbourhood) and the game element: will they be able to score a box and what will it contain?

“Too Good To Go is successful in approaching consumers in a positive way with ease-of-use and fun being important factors in its continued success,” comments Sanne Stroosnijder, Business Development Manager Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, part of Wageningen University & Research. “We’ve seen the same in previous studies into consumer behaviour and ICT tools related to the prevention of food waste, such as in the REFRESH EU project. Moreover, this box enables people to immediately see how much food they ‘saved’ from being wasted.”

United against food waste

Wageningen University & Research is one of the founding fathers of the Samen tegen Voedselverspilling (United against Food Waste) foundation. This comprises various stakeholders and initiatives. The results of this research will enable them to be improved. Stroosnijder: “Wageningen UR has been carrying out research into the prevention of food waste across the entire agrifood chain for many years. The better we understand what works, the faster we can achieve our goal of a 50% reduction of food waste by 2030.”

The research into the use of the Magic Box of Too Good To Go was performed under the auspices of the Houdbaarheid Begrepen (Understanding Expiry Dates) project, which is partly financed by the TKI Top Sector Agri & Food (project number AF-15291).