Healthy junk food to feed awareness
Every year, around 88 million tonnes of food are dumped in the EU (other kind of ‘junk food’), being the UK on the top of this waste chart with over 12 million tonnes. This is ‘normal’ given its large population, and it’s proportionally aligned with the rest of the European countries, but think about the figures.
Twelve million tonnes is equivalent to 12.000.000.000 kilos. Estimating that the UK has a population of 65 million inhabitants it would mean that each of us is binning 184 kilos per year. This is a rough calculation, as we need to considere that the food waste coming from supermarkets and retail, hospitality and the food industry are also included in those figures.
Concerned about this backdrop, a professional chef called Adam Smith started its own ‘business’: The Real Junk Food Project. It was born at the end of 2013 as a small bistro in Leeds, the Armley Junk-tion Cafe, the first among many others which would open their doors afterwards under the motto “feed bellies, not bins”.
How do they work? They intercept food coming from restaurants, allotments, food banks or events -among others- otherwise destined for landfills, and turn it into edible, tasty dishes oganoleptically checked and fit for human consumption. The price depends on the customers themselves, as it lies on a ‘pay as you feel‘ concept, and it doesn’t have to be necessarily money; repairs, cleanliness and work may also be welcomed.
The idea has widened and there are more than 120 cafes across the UK, Europe, and Australia working under the umbrella of TRJFP. Besides, it’s diversifying its actions with initiatives such as ‘Fuel for school‘, which consists of supplying primary schools with tonnes of food so that children can have breakfast with no cost for them or for the centres. It’s aimed to remove hunger as a barrier for learning, highlight the importance of nutrition and raise awareness of food waste.
The opening of a food waste supermarket in Leeds last month has been their latest endeavor to fight this global problem. Every day around 10 tonnes of food arrive at their warehouse, and they usually donate them to the ‘Fuel for school’ project. The idea came up during the summer, with all these schools temporarily closed and a surplus in their facilities. “We moved it to one part of the warehouse, put a notice up on social media asking people to come and get it, and it just went mad”, said Adam Smith to the BBC.
This supermarket follows the same ‘pay as you feel’ line as the cafes. Hopefully it’ll have the same success and expand to other towns and cities, too.
The European Union dumps 88 million tonnes of food every year, coming from household waste, hospitality, retail and food industry. Professional chef Adam Smith founded The Real Junk Food Project to intercept edible food with a past expiring date otherwise destined for landfills, and turn it into delicious meals. Nowadays, TRJFP embraces more than 120 cafes across the UK, Europe, and Australia; it has also launched ‘Fuel for Schools’, an initiative to provide schools with food for breakfasts and it has just opened its first food waste supermarket in Leeds.