August 9, 2021 - Story

How Too Good To Go used press attention to their advantage

Following our Food & Beverage white paper, we invited Kenny Defrijn, Marketing Manager at Too Good To Go, to talk about how they are shaping the future of the Food & Beverage industry. The company has been around for three years in Belgium. By now, they’ve already 1.5 million registered users in Belgium and saved 4 million (!) meals. That’s how they have grown into the world's number 1 app for fighting against food waste. Even though they aren’t spending a big budget on advertising, they seem to be growing at the speed of light. But how are they so well-known then? And can your company do the same?

Too Good To Go is a marketplace for food suppliers (like supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants) to offer consumers food that would otherwise go to waste. In other words, their biggest competitor is literally the garbage bin. Because in the end, they just don’t want the food to go to waste. In fact, it’s a win-win-win-win situation. There’s a win for the customers, because they can enjoy (still delicious) surplus food at a bargain price and, at the same time, they are helping the planet. The second win is for the planet, as solving food waste is the number one solution for the climate crisis. The partners who have surplus food and want to work on their sustainable image, also win. Too Good To Go offers them the possibility to give it away at the end of the day for a little extra revenue. And by doing that, they also get to meet potential customers. And the final win is for Too Good To Go, of course. An authentic story.

By treating sustainability as a starting point instead of a hype, this purpose-driving company is turning the whole Food & Beverage sector upside down. What’s their secret?


A good story gets picked up by the press

In March 2018, Too Good To Go expanded to Belgium. Its small team of only 10 employees immediately felt that people were still hesitant and needed to be convinced that the concept could be life-changing and even business-changing. 

The best way to do that? Approaching the press. They tried to find different angles to tell their story: the story of Too Good To Go, the story of food waste and the story of the climate crisis. The tipping point was the press attention they received from their interview in the program 'Over eten' (literally: About food) on the Belgian television station Eén. Before it got aired, the app had 300-500 downloads on a daily basis; after, the number of downloads went up to 1,000-1,500 every day. Impressive! 

Actually, the press is their main traffic driver. Last year, they obtained more than 300 (!) press clippings. One of them was about their national campaign ‘SOS Patat: red patatjes, eet frietjes’ (literally ‘SOS Potato: save potatoes, eat fries’): in the beginning of the first lockdown, a lot of potatoes were going to waste because the storage of many factories were full due to low export. Too Good To Go made an appeal to the nation:

Their secret? Thinking carefully about the content they create. By doing that, they get free press and can reach more people. A valuable learning!

In the meantime, Facebook communities started to shoot up like mushrooms. It’s wonderful to see how it works: when someone is complaining, you immediately see the community kicking in. Something to be envious about, right? What Kenny emphasizes is that your very own customer service is of equal value. If you get an email from Too Good To Go, it is not only personal, but also educational. You may rest assured that your problem will be solved.

Act like a non-commercial company

Too Good To Go is a commercial company - obviously - but they consider themselves a non-commercial company because of their social ambitions. In their communication, they hardly use commercial messages and never talk about e.g. the pricing. Instead, they deliberately steer their message to the non-commercial side by e.g. giving people tips and tricks about what they could do with their leftovers (share, freeze or remix).

And did you know that if you store your lemons in a bowl of water in the fridge, it will keep them fresh longer? It’s all about content marketing.

“We don’t know who they are”

Gathering data is of crucial importance for the relationship with your customer (in terms of customer experience) and your competitiveness in the market. So, if there is anything Too Good To Go still could improve on, it’s collecting data. Right now, they don’t really know who their users are. They know the amount of downloads per day and how many people are active on the app. Furthermore, they have third-party data from Facebook and Instagram. But that’s data from people who follow them; they don’t know if those are the same people who actually use Too Good To Go. We would advise them to put up their own dataset, in compliance with GDPR, instead of letting data be owned by major players like Facebook. Learn how to collect first-party data without infringing on one's privacy in our Trendfeed 2021.

The most important takeaways

So, what are the most important takeaways from this incredibly interesting talk with Kenny? 

  • Press is the way to go if you have a great story to tell, and you always do. It's just about finding out what your story is. That’s how they still keep growing their customer base. 
  • There’s great value in excellent customer service.
  • You can be commercial without showing it off by putting a lot of effort in content marketing.
  • First-party data is the new gold. It will definitely strengthen your position in the market.

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Justine Trio

Justine Trio

Marketing Copywriter

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