Would you take a gamble on a cheap lunch?
PUBLISHED: 15:22 01 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 01 September 2019
They say there is no such thing as a free lunch - but this could be the next best thing for diners in Ipswich, Woodbridge and Colchester.
Several eateries across Suffolk and Essex have signed up to the Too Go To Go app - which allows them to offer surplus food at reduced prices to prevent waste. The only catch is that customers take a gamble as to what may be on the menu.
Launched in 2016, Too Go To Go allows you to order a surprise meal from a participating cafe, restaurant or hotel, while they use the opportunity to use up surplus food that may have otherwise gone to waste.
You only discover what is in your goody bag when you arrive to collect it.
Depending on the venue, you might get a bacon sandwich, pastries, a fresh sandwich or even a full roast dinner.
In Ipswich you can now order from the Novotel or the Chestnut Tree Farm, while customers in Colchester can collect a cut-price meal from The 222 Coffee House and those in Woodbridge can get a discount meal from either the Cake Shop Bakery or Fire Station Coffee Roasters in Woodbridge.
The team behind the app are inviting people to "join the food waste revolution" and start buying food that shops and businesses cannot sell over the counter, but is still safe and fresh.
By downloading the app you can see what local food outlets are signed up, and also get a taster of what they may offer as part of the 'mystery meal'.
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How big a problem is food waste in the UK?
The company is fighting against the tide of wasted food in the UK, claiming that a third of all food in the country is thrown away.
More than 10 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year, which they estimate to be worth £17bn annually - an average of £700 per family per year, according to the company.
What do I need to know about the app?
All of the restaurants on the app give a description of the food they share but the exact details of what will be offered that day remains a mystery until the point of collection.
Chestnut Tree Farm promise to share their unsold pub grub, including Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and even turkey while The Cake shop in Woodbridge offer their handmade sandwiches, salads, cake and artisan breads.
Locations with bags of food available are shown in green on the app, but sold-out shops are in red.
Every day more bags become available, so keep checking back for more chances to bag a cheap meal.
You have to make sure you are available to collect your meal as well - the hours of collection are close to the time that food has to be thrown away, so 5pm for high street shops and between 9-11pm for pubs are prime times for collection while a late breakfast is often on offer at the Novotel.