In a world where all news seems to be bad news and it’s constantly reported on screen and in the newspapers, it was a breath of fresh air to see this headline appear on my Facebook timeline yesterday:
The UK’s first food waste supermarket has opened, and it’s ‘pay as you feel’
Britain’s first food waste supermarket opened this week, in a West Yorkshire market town called Pudsey. The ‘anti-supermarket’ as they like to call it has been founded by food waste campaigners from the The Real Junk Food Project headed up by Adam Smith.
The Daily Mail reports that ‘Britain has the highest level of food wastage in the European Union, with the average household throwing out more than three weeks’ worth of food every year.’
The Independent is reporting that the supermarket’s ‘pay as you feel’ policy has ‘already helped desperate families to feed their children’. Adam Smith, founder of the The Real Junk Food Project, which is behind the food waste supermarket, told The Independent that there are plans to open a warehouse selling surplus produce in every city in the UK.
The UK’s first food waste supermarket sells food that they intercept before it ends up going to waste or in the bottom of a bin. The Real Junk Food Project state they apply common sense to the ‘nonsensical’ expiration dates system in the UK. They redistribute food that others cannot.
If you are wondering who they feed, well it’s everyone:
‘In order for us to prove the value and safety of food waste, we couldn’t just feed specific demographics of people. We believe food waste is absolutely fit for human consumption and so that’s who we feed – human beings.’ The Real Junk Food Project
The supermarket is not the Real Junk Food Projects first venture. They’ve already opened many ‘pay as you feel cafe’s’ across the UK.
If you watch the TedX talk that Adam gives at the bottom of this post, he explains what these cafe’s mean to those who frequent them. There was one man who lived across from a cafe, and with no money, no electricity and on the verge of suicide who felt that the cafe concept had saved his life. This is powerful stuff and way beyond saving a banana from going brown and ending up in the bin.
You can find a ‘pay as you feel’ cafe near you by clicking here.
Their Fuel for School is one initiative that is of great interest to me – there isn’t really an effective way to describe how I feel knowing that some children go to school hungry (and continue to be hungry when they return home). I’m definitely going to be finding out more.
But Adam himself explains that he doesn’t want to be doing this. He’s hoping that in 10-15 years they will no longer be in business. Please watch the video (it’s just 10 minutes) and you’ll discover his vision for the future. There’s a direct call to action at the end for us all to make better decisions and to do the right thing when it comes to not wasting food.
Adam is someone who will make a difference, with support from others, there’s no doubt. He doesn’t say what the system wants to hear, he speaks plainly – as he see’s it. And he has a point.
On a personal note The Real Junk Food Project answers a long-standing question and solves a dilemma. As someone who is mindful of what is bought and used, and tries to reduce what I waste, I know that what I do helps my family, but how does it help others? By me using up the entire bag of carrots before they go mouldy I have not been wasteful and have reduced spend, but that does not do anything to reduce the amount of carrots going to waste on shop and market shelves.
I’m looking forward to seeing the redistribution of potentially wasted food to those who need it continue and develop.