Items at this ‘food waste supermarket’ are sold to customers on a “pay-as-you-feel” scale, to ensure local residents can obtain nutritious food.
Two of the world’s greatest conundrums at present are the amount of food developed nations waste and the amount of people who go hungry each evening (approximately 795 million). In an attempt to remedy both concerns at once, The Real Food Junk Project opened the first “food waste supermarket” in the United Kingdom, and so far, the “pay-as-you-feel” model has been a great success.
The store (which is awaiting an official name) was opened in Pudsey, near Leeds, and is hopefully the first of many grocery stores that sell products which are close to expiration – or barely past date – and have dinged or dented packaging. As Inhabitat relays, the unique store helps to ensure people on tight budgets can obtain vital nutrition for their families.
Because UK residents (as well as Americans) waste a substantial amount of perfectly edible food, the warehouse sells the products to consumers for whatever they can afford in an attempt to reduce waste. Whether it be fresh pasta, juice, pasta sauce, vegetables, fruits or even desserts – all food must find a home, and for whatever price an individual can offer.
Nearly seven days a week, the staff of The Real Junk Food Project operates the supermarket to make food as accessible as possible to the local community. What is offered largely depends on what food can be “rescued” from nearby stores, however. The food that doesn’t meet the standards of regular grocery stores but is still perfectly suitable for consumption is rescued by local nonprofits and delivered to the Real Junk Food Project’s warehouse.
As mentioned, the UK and the U.S. aren’t the only nations responsible for wasting large amounts of food. Globally, more than 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted or spoiled each year. Additionally, supermarkets throw away £230m of edible food each year, according to an investigation by the Evening Standard. For this reason, France passed a law banning supermarkets from purposefully wasting food. Read more about that here.
Before the warehouse was opened on August 29, the organization also ran a pay-as-you-feel cafe which serves the UK freshly prepared meals from food destined to be wasted. Adam Smith, the founder of the Real Food Junk Project, told The Independent that the ultimate goal is to open a food waste supermarket in every city in the UK.
The mission to divert nutritious and edible food from being tossed into landfills has compelled other “food waste supermarkets” to pop up around the globe. As you might have read, the former president of Trader Joes opened up a similar market in Boston, Massachusetts.
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