This app helped me save £35+ a month on food - here's how it works

One mum reveals how she’s saved almost £150 since March by using this food app and whether it's actually worth it

Man carrying takeaway food in brown paper bags
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As food prices continue to rise across the country, it’s no wonder that many households are looking for new ways to cut costs. 

Fortunately, when working out how to save money on food, there are a number of steps families can take to ease the pressure on their finances. Switching to a cheaper supermarket is one option, as is using a supermarket loyalty card to get better prices. But there are also a number of apps you can use to help reduce your food bills. 

One of these is Too Good To Go, an app designed to help households save money, while reducing food waste at the same time. It enables customers to buy unsold, surplus food from a range of restaurants and shops at reduced prices, meaning that it doesn’t all end up in the bin.’s Money Editor, Sarah Handley, says: “With family budgets remaining stretched, it’s crucial to be aware of all the different ways you can save money and cut the cost of your food bills. Plus, with an app like Too Good To Go, you’re also helping to reduce food waste so it’s a win-win situation.”

 What is the Too Good To Go app? 

Too Good To Go is an app that effectively matches restaurants, supermarkets and shops that have leftover food with customers who want to buy it at discounted prices. 

Any fresh food that isn’t past its use by date can be sold on the app, whether that’s supermarket groceries, sushi, sandwiches, a roast dinner, or breakfast pastries. In some cases, you could be sold goods that have just passed their best before date but are still safe to eat.

To get involved, you need to download the free Too Good To Go app (you can download it from the App Store or Google Play) and then look at what’s available in your area. You’ll see a list of stores that have “Surprise Bags” for customers to buy and collect. Stores can’t know exactly what will be left at the end of the day, so the contents of the bag will be unknown until you pick it up. This means you’ll need to be fairly flexible about what you eat, although in some cases you might be told when something is vegetarian, for example. 

How do Surprise Bags work?

Surprise Bags are typically sold for around a third of the original price. If you find a bag you’d like, simply reserve it in the app, check the specified collection time and make your payment. When you go to collect your bag, show your order details on the app and enjoy your purchase. 

Too Good To Go currently works with more than 26,000 businesses, including bakers, restaurants and supermarkets, and has more than 13 million users. When I looked on the app, near me, I could find Surprise Bags available at Toby Carvery, SPAR, Morrisons and my local deli. But it also works with PAUL, Lola’s Cupcakes, Pret, Yo Sushi, Planet Organic and Patisserie Valerie, plus many more. 

The app runs across the globe and in 2022, it saved almost 79 million meals from ending up as waste, avoiding nearly 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Since launch, it's saved more than 200 million meals from going to waste.

We spoke to Bryony, mum-of-two, about her experiences of using Too Good To Go so that we could find out more about the app.

 “I’ve saved almost £150 since March” 

Mum-of-two, Bryony Lewis, founder of parenting and breastfeeding site T & Belle, loves saving money on food and decided to download the Too Good To Go app in March. So far, she and her family have saved just under £150 with a mixture of grocery bags, coffee shop bags and restaurant meals. But it wasn't all plain sailing. 

Bryony told us: “I've had a really mixed experience with Too Good To Go. I've had a couple of bags from our local Costa which I wasn't massively impressed with, but the Greggs bag I had recently was a lot better. Generally, I’ve had a much better experience with restaurants. Harvester is usually a great one, for example, with their chicken portion and salad bar that will quite happily feed me and my husband.

chinese takeaway meal via Too Good To Go

(Image credit: Bryony Lewis)

“The best one I've had so far though was from a local Chinese buffet restaurant. They literally gave me a large takeaway box and said I could take whatever I wanted from the buffet to fill up the box - it was all really delicious for just £7 (compared to £21 per person to have a meal in the restaurant).

“For my area, there are quite a few choices of different coffee shops, small food stores, supermarkets and restaurants. With some of these, you get a totally random bag of items, but with the restaurant ones particularly, you get a good idea of what you'll receive when you order.”

Costa Coffee food via Too Good To Go

(Image credit: Bryony Lewis)

However, while there are many benefits to using the app, there are downsides too. Bryony says: “I didn't find the Costa bag as good because I'd hoped for a bit more variety. I got one slice of rather stale cake and three sandwiches (one of which was vegan cheese so not something I'd eat) and they all needed to be eaten that day.

“Another downside is that you need to be able to head out and collect most restaurant meals in the evening around 9pm which can be tricky with kids in bed and it often means eating later than we would usually. I do find it worth it for the savings though.”

Some of the savings Bryony and her family have made by using the app can be found below:

  • Chinese Restaurant - £7 instead of £21
  • Harvester - £3.99 instead of £11.99
  • Costa - £3 instead of £10
  • One Stop - £1.99 instead of £6.

Fancy using Too Good To Go? Here’s what you need to know 

If you want to use the Too Good To Go app to see how much you can save on your food bills, remember that you won’t know exactly what’s in your Surprise Bag until you go to pick it up. Some stores will give you an indication of what you might get, but if you have fussy eaters in the family or serious allergies, it might not work for you.

Also be aware that many deals will sell out quickly, often first thing in the morning, so be prepared to act fast if you spot something you want.

If you do reserve something but then change your mind, you can cancel your order up to two hours before the agreed pick up time. If you cancel outside this time, you’re unlikely to get your money back. Similarly, the store itself can cancel your order if it has no products left - again, this must be up to two hours before pick up time. Your pick up period is often between 10 and 30 minutes long, but can be shorter or longer. Make sure you check so that you don’t miss your slot.

Finally, while there are big savings to be had by using this app, make sure you factor in the location of your chosen store. If you live in a large town with lots of options, that’s great. But if you need to drive further afield to pick up your goodies, you could end up spending more on travel costs than you save on food.

If you're looking for more ways to save money on food, make sure you know the places you can get free coffee, the birthday freebies you and your family could get, and how to get free Percy Pigs from M&S. If you love a takeaway, you can also check out our guide to how you can get free Deliveroo Plus for 12 months.

Rachel Wait
Personal finance expert

Mum of two, Rachel is a freelance personal finance journalist who has been writing about everything from mortgages to car insurance for over a decade. Having previously worked at Shares Magazine, where she specialised in small-cap stocks, Rachel developed a passion for consumer finance and saving money when she moved to She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket, often acting as spokesperson. Rachel went freelance in 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and has since written for numerous websites and national newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun and Forbes. She is passionate about helping families become more confident with their finances, giving them the tools they need to take control of their money and make savings. In her spare time, Rachel is a keen traveller and baker.