App striving to help businesses reduce food waste launches in Ottawa

Businesses can sign up for Too Good To Go and sell “surprise bags” at discounted prices to customers at the end of the day. 

Business can sell discounted leftovers as part of a 'surprise bag'

Jon Martin is vice president of franchise development at Maverick's Donuts. The company has partnered with the Too Good To Go app and sells six packs of frozen doughnuts that haven't sold on a given day. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

An app designed to help businesses prevent food waste launched this week in Ottawa. 

Businesses can sign up for Too Good To Go and sell "surprise bags" at discounted prices to customers at the end of the day. 

The company said almost 100 businesses in the city have partnered with the app, which launched in Ottawa on June 9. 

"It's kind of a win, win, win," said Jon Martin, vice president of franchise management at Maverick's Donuts, one of the businesses on the app. 

"Win for the customer, win for the businesses and also win for the environment," he said.

Martin, who also owns four Maverick's franchises, said it was a "no-brainer" for Maverick's to partner with the app because, as a bakery that makes all its doughnuts day-of, it's sometimes hard to gauge what the demand will be on a given day. 

"At the end of the day, we freeze [the doughnuts] up and because they're cake doughnuts, they freeze really well and people can come and pick them up the next day at a discounted price," Martin said. 

Maverick's offers a six-pack of surprise doughnuts that customers can come pick up in store for a third of the price of what they would normally sell for. 

Surprise bags help get to zero waste

All the bags from Too Good To Go are surprises, meaning customers don't know exactly what they are getting. 

Sam Kashani, country manager for the Too Good to Go app, said the surprise element really allows businesses to get as close as possible to zero waste. 

"The surprise bag really allows them to capture all of their surplus food and for consumers to enjoy a delicious meal or delicious baked goods," he said, adding businesses may not know at the beginning of the day exactly what excess food they are going to have to sell in the bags. 

Valerie Leloup is the co-founder and CEO of Nu Grocery, a zero waste grocery store. She said using the Too Good to Go app is a compliment to her business which already strives to have zero food waste. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

At Nu Grocery, a zero waste grocery store, the surprise bag usually contains perishable items like produce. The store's philosophy is to avoid food waste at all costs anyway, so partnering with the app was a complement to what they were already doing. 

"It just comes as an additional piece in the waste reduction puzzle," said Valerie Leloup, co-founder and CEO of Nu Grocery.

Leloup said they already gave items they couldn't sell at discounted rates, or they gave the items to staff or as donations so the app is "the perfect step" between all that. 

And with food prices rising due to inflation, Leloup adds, getting produce and grocery items at a discounted price will help enable people to eat healthy without worrying too much about the cost.


Sarah Kester


Sarah Kester is a reporter at CBC in Ottawa. She can be reached at

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan