It has become somewhat of an addiction, scrolling through the Too Good To Go app – and keeping my eyes peeled for any big name brands selling off their food for cheap. I had already had successes from Toby Carvery and even more so Greggs, could I keep the momentum running?
After finishing work one Monday evening I was sat scrolling through the app, when I came across, for the first time, a ‘magic bag’ from Costa nearby in Worcestershire ready to be picked up within the next half hour. I jumped on it – quite literally – and ran out the door to go and collect it.
I’m a big fan of Costa – despite the fact I don’t drink coffee. But their hot chocolates and cakes always draw me in, and if I’m in the mood for a treat lunch, a warm panini or toastie really soothes the soul.
Readmore: I tried a Greggs ‘magic bag’ and couldn’t believe the amount of food I got for only £2.95
Too Good To Go is where supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and shops sell their leftovers for significantly less than you would pay for them in their prime. The food that you can collect is inside ‘magic bags’ and can be found on the app. You just search for what’s available near you. Among those signed up to the app are the previously mentioned Toby Carvery and Greggs, as well as Starbucks, Spar, Midcounties Co-op, Morrisons and Farmhouse Inns.
I picked up my brown paper bag from Costa shortly after 6pm, when the store had in fact closed. I was surprised at how light the bag felt when it was handed over.
I felt my heart sink a little after previous ventures, but optimistic I headed home to check out what goodies I would be eating this evening. I opened the bag up on our dining room table to find two breakfast baps and a pasta box.
For £3 I suppose you can’t expect too much and I would be paying much more for these items if I had brought them full price in the day. But I did feel slightly disappointed – and the contents of the bag felt slightly dire. It would have probably cost me £10 or more if I’d paid full price for the individual items. However I did notice on all three there were 50% of reduced stickers anyway – so these would have been cheaper then too.
There was a British smoked bacon bap; an egg, mushroom and spinach breakfast bap; and – probably what I was most excited about trying – the M&S rich beef ragu. I had heard Costa and M&S had joined together for all of your foodie delights, but I hadn’t had a chance to try the range yet so I was looking forward to it.
Controversial topic out of the way first, I don’t like bacon, so I had to enlist my partner to try this one. This would cost you £3.25 if you picked up in store – but as mentioned there was a 50% off sticker on the front, so it would be much cheaper later in the day.
You would normally have these warm – so we popped it in the microwave (as there was no way the bun was fitting in our toaster) and warmed it for just 40 seconds. It was a bit bland and there wasn’t a lot of bacon on the bap.
It was edible and nice – we had to add sauce otherwise it would have been extremely dry. If you were on the go and had no access to a microwave, toaster or oven, it would have been a very sad, cold meal.
Next up was the egg, mushroom and spinach breakfast bap – which again would cost £3.25 but came with a 50% off sticker on the front. I warmed this up too in the microwave for a short time to get the real taste.
I’m partial to a veggie or vegan option now and then, but haven’t tried this one before. It was different – the hollandaise sauce really complimented it well.
However the egg was quite moist and soggy. The mushrooms and spinach however were delicious. It wasn’t the worst thing I have ever tried, but it wasn’t the best either. Would I order it again? Possibly yes!
And for the main event, the one I was really looking forward to trying – the M&S rich beef ragu. Even in its cardboard packaging this looked delicious.
I must admit, I was excited. After the kind of lackluster baps – I was pinning all my hopes on this pasta dish. I’m not entirely sure what the cost of this pasta dish would be in store, as I can’t find it online or via the Costa app. But I would say it would be in the £3 to £4 mark going on other similar items.
As per the packaging, we warmed it in the oven for 20 minutes. Not so great if you’re on the go, but we were at home so it was perfect. And it was delicious. Just as high quality as you would expect M&S food to be.
The sauce was really rich and tasty, while the mozzarella had melted just right to make it super stringy. The tomatoes were sweet and the garlic breadcrumbs just topped it off perfectly. This was the meal we had been waiting for in the bag – and it did a good job of saving my disappointment overall.
After such excitement from bags from Toby Carvery and Greggs, I must admit I was slightly disappointed by Costa’s offering. Even more so when I’ve seen other people picking up the bags with a fair few more items than we had.
It would have been nice to see a few sweet treats thrown in. It may have complimented the heavily carby bread and pasta we consumed. Had it not been for the beef ragu, the entire bag would have been a flop. This did save the day in my opinion.
But then again we only paid £3 – when we would have been paying £10 plus in store. You can’t deny the appeal, or fail to see why the app is popular.
The food is better given out at a discounted price, than being thrown in the bin. It is really worth trying in your local area to see what discounts you can pick up.
Readmore: New bakery opens at Merry Hill – selling Kinder and Terry’s Chocolate Orange brownies
For the latest on events and attractions, food and drink, and things to do around the Midlands, visit our What’s On home page.
Stay abreast of the latest on days out, nights out, shopping and more with our Daily What’s On Email updates.