Calgary food insecurity fought in innovative ways

As the cost of living continues to rise, so does the rate of food insecurity. With more and more people struggling to put a meal on the table, organizations are finding creative ways to combat food waste and get meals into the bellies of Albertans.

Thursday marked the launch of a new app for Calgarians. Too Good To Go is a company that is fighting food waste by connecting consumers with businesses that have more food than they can sell.

Sam Kashani is the Canadian Country Manager at Too Good To Go. He said we waste over 58 per cent of the food that’s ultimately produced in this country.

“If you think of a local bakery, café, grocery store, they will have so surplus food,” Kashani said. “Consumers can go in during a defined pick-up window and pick up that food in what we call a surprise bag.”

WATCH: CityNews’ Jasmine Vickaryous reports on organizations finding creative ways to combat food waste while making food more affordable.

Kashani said the reception from local businesses has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 100 partners signing up within the first couple of weeks.

“We have saved well over one thousand meals before our launch date, which has never really been done before,” Kashani said. “So we are very excited.”

This new app comes to Calgary at a time of need as the Calgary Food Bank says the number of clients this year has increased by 32 per cent in February compared to last year 2021.

Other organizations are also doing what they can to combat food insecurity. The United Way Calgary in partnership with J5 is hosting pay what you want markets across the city.

“The way the model works is some people will come in and they will pay more than a suggested total,” said Sydney Johnson, Design Lead at J5. “And that supplements people who might be choosing to pay less or pay nothing for the same goods.”


Johnson says they are hoping to provide a space where people can access fresh groceries for a price they can afford, while also maintaining their dignity.

“The pay what you want model is also very anonymous when we have our cashiers in the space,” she said. “For example, they actually don’t know what the person is paying until after they leave the store and we’re looking in our systems.”

She says the market is for everyone and encourages all to check it out regardless of their financial situation.

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