The 'Magic Bag' App Can Help You Save Money On Your Food Shop

The anti-food-waste app has spiked in popularity as grocery prices rise. Here's how it works.
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The cost of groceries is getting so high that some people are cutting back on food to save money. More than half (56%) of 4,011 people surveyed by the BBC have started to buy fewer groceries and are skipping meals,

Food inflation accelerated to 3.5% in April, up from 3.3% in March – the highest inflation rate since March 2013. Archie Norman, chairman of Marks & Spencer, warned that food prices could soar by as much as 10% this year.

Now the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), which provides analysis to large grocers, says the price of staple items is set to rise by 15%, a hike that is coming faster and lasting longer than even the Bank of England estimated.

Grocery price inflation jumped to 8.3% over the four weeks to June 12, Kantar data found. Brits will see their annual grocery bill increase by £380 this year as the price of food hits a fresh 13-year high, according to the new figures.

Shoppers are increasingly swapping branded items for cheaper own-label products as they look to manage their budgets, the research suggested.

It found that sales of branded products fell by 1% in the 12 weeks to June 12, while own-label sales rose by 2.9% and value own-label lines surged by 12%.

It’s no wonder buying food is a real struggle for many Brits right now, but there are hacks that can help keep costs down.

Money saving experts Martin Lewis has revealed his tips for using supermarket apps to save on your weekly shop.

But savvy shoppers are finding other ways to get their food for less, too.

The free Too Good To Go app is one of them. Originally launched in 2015 to tackle food waste, the app allows you to buy discounted food and drinks from restaurants, pubs and retailers, which would otherwise be thrown away.

As a shopper you download the app and search for nearby food outlets with unsold produce, which are placed in a ‘magic bag’ that you can pick up for a third of the original retail price.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of the app, says that usage is “at an all time high”.

“In the UK, we’ve seen an 18% percentage increase of people saving on our app between March and May compared to the previous three months,” he tells HuffPost UK.

“Globally, we have also experienced a continuous increase in the amount of new users who save their first magic bag within 30 days... This is showing us that our users since March are more motivated to save than ever before.”

How does the app work?

As soon as you’ve downloaded the app, you can begin searching for food businesses in your area that have surplus food to sell in a ‘magic bag’.

Buy a ‘magic bag’ from one of them and you’ll be given a collection time in your in-app receipt. Once your collection window has started, you can activate a button and ‘swipe to redeem’ in the store where you pick your bag up.

As the app’s website explains: “You won’t know exactly what’s in your Magic Bag until you pick it up. This gives stores the flexibility to make sure nothing goes to waste, and it gives you an exciting and delicious surprise.”

Crummie says Too Good To Go aims to make good food accessible for everyone “in a way that does right by our planet too”.

“Food waste accounts for 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (for context, aviation accounts for 6%) and so reducing our food waste is vital if we’re to combat climate change,” he explains.

“Alongside helping our planet, we know that tackling food waste is good for people and businesses too. Businesses can recover the otherwise sunk cost of that unsold food, while consumers can access good food at great value.”

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