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Food Waste App Too Good to Go Adds Circle K in US Expansion

(Bloomberg) —

Too Good To Go (TGTG), an app that allows people to buy surplus food from restaurants and stores at a discount, is adding thousands of Circle K convenience stores to increase its presence in the US as high food prices continue to vex consumers.

Circle K’s parent company, Canadian-listed Alimentation Couche-Tard, aims to have more than 9,000 of its stores across the US, Canada, Ireland and Poland on TGTG’s app by year’s end, according to a statement released Thursday. That will increase the number of North American TGTG partner stores by 27% to about 37,000, expanding its footprint beyond urban hubs.

Even with easing inflation, rising food costs have been top of mind for US consumers as government data shows grocery prices outpacing that of the overall benchmark. TGTG, which lets consumers order “surprise bags” of surplus food packed by merchants at an average price of $5 apiece, has appealed not just to sustainability-minded consumers, but also people who find themselves on a tight budget.

We “get messages from users, and especially young families, for whom this has become an affordable way for them to get food on the table,” TGTG Chief Executive Officer Mette Lykke said in an interview. The company has also received a “tremendous amount of outreach” from college students asking for more shops to be added in college towns, said Chris MacAulay, who oversees the US business.

The Copenhagen-based company expanded into the US in 2020 and has more than doubled its customer base in the region over the past year, adding 134% more registered users for a total of 8.2 million. MacAulay said the US business aims to continue growing at a similar rate over the next year or two. It has nearly 100 million users worldwide in 17 countries including the UK, France and Spain, with a launch in Australia coming soon. 

As rising living costs continue to weigh on households worldwide, the company’s growth has also accelerated. While it took six years for TGTG to reach its first 100 million meals sold, it was able to add the same amount in just a 16-month period between late 2021 and early 2023 as inflation climbed. 

It was valued at about €750 million ($816 million) in its latest funding round of about €50 million in 2022. The company declined to disclose its latest valuation, but it has become profitable since then.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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