I ate Too Good To Go for a week and here’s what I found out

From bacon rolls to sushi rolls, here’s all the food you could be saving on in Edinburgh

Too Good To Go is an app promising to fight food waste by giving locals a chance to buy leftover food from cafes at a reduced price. Prices range from £2 to £10, and feature classic high street establishments as well as small businesses.

I noticed several shops around Edinburgh with the Too Good To Go logo in their windows and thought I should try it out, not only to help the environment but also to give me a chance to try food I wouldn’t normally get.

The app offers “magic bags”   – a selection of leftover food that differs every day, so you never know what to expect. For each shop there is a brief description of the kind of food on offer, a rough amount of how much this would normally be worth, and reviews from other customers.

Also before we get into it, it’s worth noting that I embarked on this experiment right before Christmas, so many of the things I received are festive items. However, the general idea of what you’ll get still applies all-year round.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and see what Too Good To Go Edinburgh has to offer.

Costa Coffee St Andrew’s Square ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £3 (RRP £10).

What I got: two boxes of pigs in blankets mac n cheese, a panini with brie, maple bacon and cranberry, a vegan bacon roll, a turkey and the trimmings toastie, and a plain croissant.

For my first attempt I optimistically chose a shop half an hour from my house, so the main drawback was I ended up walking nearly an hour just to collect the food. Too Good To Go is not a delivery service – you do have to collect the food yourself – so it’s wise to choose something near your house or on your route home from class.

However, I was blown away by the quality and quantity of food – I was only expecting enough for one meal but this hoard lasted me two dinners, two lunches, a breakfast and a snack!

Another thing I realised is a lot of food has to be heated up – it’s wise to preheat your oven before you go to collect your order, and a toastie maker certainly comes in handy to create that authentic cafe feel.

You may have to freeze some food to save for later – all food on the app is supposed to be eaten on the day you get it. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of your friends – for three friends this lot would come to £1 each.

Pret North Bridge⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £4 (rrp £9).

What I got: A Swedish meatball wrap, prosciutto mac n cheese, and a bacon roll.

After my roaring success at Costa, I was a little disappointed by my next collection. An important thing to note when using Too Good To Go is it’s very hit or miss – be prepared for disappointments alongside the bargains.

However, the food was delicious – and still hot when I picked it up! The shop assistant picked the leftover food straight out of the heated counter for me, which was a nice touch.

A lot of the food I had got so far had been meat – don’t worry, there are options for vegan and vegetarian magic bags, but I chose not to get one.

Greggs Nicholson Street ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £2.59 (RRP £8).

What I got: A cheese salad baguette, a cheese and onion bake, a chicken bake, a vegan sausage roll, a croissant, and a triple chocolate donut.

What can I say – Greggs truly never disappoints. This was the one I was most looking forward to and I cannot recommend it enough.

I was lucky enough to get some of my favourites in this collection and for £2.59 it was an absolute bargain. Another plus is that the collection time is 3:30pm, while for most shops it’s around 7pm when they close. This meant I was able to get in a late lunch after class – and only five minutes walk from George Square!

I have noticed Greggs’ magic bags are often the first to sell out – and for good reason. I liked it so much I wasn’t even able to get a good photo of the collection as it was all gone within about 20 minutes.  I will definitely be going again.

Bonsai Bar Bistro ⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £6 (RRP £18).

What I got: Chicken katsu with rice, sushi rolls.

This one let me down a little, as for the price I was expecting a good meal. Although the food tasted great, the box was mostly filled with rice and the sushi rolls were low on filling, so I’m not sure how it could have been worth £18 originally.

Another problem was that collection was at 9:30pm which for me is much too late for dinner. My conclusion is that restaurants are not the best places to buy on Too Good To Go, and it’s better to stick to cafes, which are more reliable.

However, if there’s a new restaurant you’ve been looking to try out, it could be a good idea. It was nice to get a taste of the food for a reduced price, although I still think it was a little extortionate.

Starbucks Nicolson street⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £3.59 (RRP £10.75).

What I got: A Thanksgiving toastie, a chocolate orange s’mores toastie, a berry crunch yoghurt, a Christmas chocolate brownie, and a coffee walnut cupcake.

The food I got here wasn’t really to my taste – I prefer savoury to sweet food. Although it was a good amount of food and was tasty, you couldn’t really make a meal out of this.

It shows that Too Good To Go is not always a good substitute for your dinner, and sometimes you will just receive snacks. However, it was good to try some new stuff at a discount.

Possibly it would be a better idea to order this for coffee and a catch up with your friends.

Bayes UoE⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I paid: £4 (RRP £12).

What I got: A tomato mozzarella panini, a chorizo mozzarella panini, a brie and bacon toastie, a granola yoghurt, and a croissant.

Several UoE cafes are on Too Good To Go, and they tend to have good deals. This lot lasted me a while, and tasted really good. It’s also pretty reliable, you’ll essentially always get three meals for the price of one.

Plus the location is convenient, as you can pick it up mid-afternoon on the way home from class.


What I paid: £5.30 (RRP £15.60).

What I got: One pork burrito and one festive burrito.

The burritos were absolutely massive and you definitely got enough food for the price.

However, if you choose to buy here, you should make sure you have a friend to share with as reheating a pork burrito might not be the best idea. I’m not a big fan of the restaurant, but if you are I’d recommend it – you pretty much know what you’re getting.

What I learned overall

My main conclusion is that the best deals you’ll find are cafes: expect sandwiches, toasties, paninis, croissants and rolls. Hot meals tend to be a bit more hit or miss and not as good value for money, so you should only get those if it’s a restaurant you would normally eat at.

Also make sure you check the distance you’ll have to walk before paying, or plan a bus route. Another important thing is the pick up time – most collections are at about 7pm, and maybe it’s just me but walking home with a bag full of food when you haven’t eaten since 1pm can be pretty galling.

You will get more food than you can eat in one day – be prepared to heat your food up, freeze it and share it with friends.

Although it can save money on eating out, it’s still more expensive than grocery shopping. I spent £28.48 in one week which is more than I would’ve spent on groceries. But if you’ve been craving a cafe lunch or a particular restaurant, it’s definitely worth a try.

Save your wallet and the planet at the same time!

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