Business is booming.

Lots of Food Gets Tossed. These Apps Let You Buy It, Cheap.

In Hammond, Ind. said Jerry Wash, a retired railroad ticket agent, who regularly checks what’s available at his local Meijer. “We wake up in the morning, you know, most people check their social media,” he said. “We’re checking Flashfood.”

Mr. Wash said he and his wife, Jody, did not shop at the grocery stores’ regular outlets, describing outlet food as “beaten” and “bad.” Recently, he said they’ve been planning meals around what’s available on the app.

Josh Domingues, the company’s founder and CEO, acknowledged that he had recreated the clearance rack on people’s phones, but he said presentation was key. “This food is not segregated in the back corner, which almost makes you feel smaller for going through,” he said. Instead, blue branded refrigerators stand in front of grocery stores with signs urging people to help fight food waste.

Too Good To Go has tried to gamify buying leftovers. In the United States, customers in 12 cities can browse restaurants and stores and then reserve “surprise bags,” which typically cost about $4 to $6 and contain food that would have originally been priced at about three times that amount. The bags can be collected in a specific time window. Too Good To Go charges $1.79 per bag and charges partners an annual fee of $89.

Jennifer Rexrode, a tax analyst in Austin, heard about the app in May. “A friend of mine posted a picture of their food that they got from Too Good To Go from a local barbecue restaurant where they got a lot of ribs,” she said. “And I want a lot of ribs! And so I signed up.”