The supermarket industry manages to waste a huge portion of food. In the United States alone, it is estimated that $165 billion worth of food is wasted each year. That is a monumental amount of sustenance that could be sold at a major discount to under-privileged families or given to homeless shelters to feed the hungry. With the exception of certain supermarkets donating their supermarket wastes to non-profit organizations and churches, there is hardly anything being done to tackle this waste matter.
In the United Kingdom though, a viable solution came into fruition that involves some of the country’s most popular cafés. Reportedly, some coffee establishments are specializing in food sourced from supermarket wastes.
According to Quartz, there are now fourteen cafés within the U.K. that source the ingredients for their dishes not only from the mountains of food wasted by supermarkets, but also from wholesalers and restaurants. Eighty other cafés are in various stages in becoming just like the aforementioned fourteen. Nevertheless, the movement is catching on more and it is all thanks to the umbrella company that ties it all together, The Real Junk Food Project.
— RealJunkFoodProject (@RealJunkFood) March 30, 2015
The Real Junk Food Project is a grassroots organization that started out in Leeds in the U.K. According to the setup, all the cafés that are sourcing are autonomous, as in they are not associated with each other. However, they all have the certain characteristics among each other that makes sourcing work. First, they plan their menus based on what ingredients they find each day. Second, there are no prices, allowing customers to pay what they feel the dish is worth.
The movement is about addressing the culture of waste in modern society, as stated by Sam Joseph, an environmental conservation graduate who, with Katie Jarman, set up Skipchen, one of the fourteen cafés that participate in the project. Joseph does, however, state that the sourcing is just a “patch” on the problem which is overproduction. Not only that, modern methods have also provided near-infinite choices when it comes to food, too. An example was made with a year being good for cauliflowers but bad for pumpkins. In such a case, the cauliflowers will be overly planted while loads of pumpkins are imported from overseas countries.
— RealJunkFoodProject (@RealJunkFood) March 15, 2015
Through sourcing, choices will suddenly be restricted to what is seasonal and fresh which in turn lowers food waste. People are now becoming understanding of the situation, adapting it to their lifestyle as they now see food not as waste, but nourishment.
[Image via Michael Bradley/Getty]