Coop Norway reduces food waste through partnership with Too Good to Go

The move is part of the retailer’s plans to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025, and sees it join several other co-ops in the scheme

Retailer Coop Norway has distributed 550,000 bags of surplus food using the mobile app Too Good to Go.

The co-op started rolling out the initiative in autumn 2021, enabling customers to buy food items that would otherwise be thrown away at a low price. Coop Norway plans to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025.

“It has quickly become a very popular offer among our customers,” said the co-op’s director of chains Håvard Jensen in a press release. “It feels good to know that the goods are being sold and eaten. Our customers, who are also our co-owners, are concerned with sustainability and are becoming increasingly aware of throwing away less food.

“The collaboration with Too Good To Go is expected to reduce our food waste by approximately 6% in 2022. And it is just one of several important steps on the way to our zero vision for food waste.”

Under the scheme, left-over food is packaged in surprise bags near store closing time and made available via the Too Good To Go app, and offered to customers for around one third of the full price. 

“The customers appreciate that they can get the full range of groceries,” said Joakim Nilsen, store manager at Extra Iseveien in Sarpsborg – the Coop Norway store which has sold the most food through the scheme. “A bag can contain baked goods, fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, dry goods, cold cuts and dairy products that we are not allowed to sell at full price due to shelf life, cosmetic defects or the like.”

All 804 Coop Norway stores have a profile in the Too Good To Go app to sell goods that are at risk of being thrown away.

A social enterprise, Too Good to Go was founded in Denmark at the end of 2015, with several co-operative retailers now on board, including the UK’s Southern, Midcounties, Central England and the Heart of England societies. Coop Netherlands, the Dill Pickle Food Co-op in Chicago and Coop Denmark have also joined up.

“Together with our app users, the Coop [Norway] stores make a big effort to ensure that the food they have left at the end of the day is eaten and does not end up as waste,” said Johan Ingemarsson, general manager of Too Good To Go. “The environmental benefit of the 550,000 bags of surplus food that have been saved so far corresponds to 1,375 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. With this, Coop has saved the world from the emissions of flying 271 times around the world.”