The Real Junk Food Project has opened the UK’s first food waste supermarket in a Leeds warehouse, enabling locals to access food that would otherwise have been thrown away.
Customers can give money on a “pay as you feel” basis for their food items or give back by volunteering at the warehouse.
This ‘people’s supermarket’ has deals with suppliers including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Ocado, and also works with local allotments, cafes, food banks and caterers. It receives on average between two and 10 tonnes of food at its warehouse every day.
There are plans to run a people’s supermarket selling surplus produce in every city in the UK.
Another Real Junk Food Project initiative, Fuel for School, delivers surplus bread, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from supermarkets to schools, where it is used to feed 12,000 schoolchildren each week. It is hoped that Fuel for School will arrive soon at cities across the country.
The grocery supply chain in the UK wastes 1.9 million tonnes each year: 56% of this is avoidable waste. 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. At the same time, the number of people using food banks in the UK has reached record levels.