The UK’s first food waste supermarket has arrived!
Ever wondered what happens to all the food that supermarkets can't sell within date but is still perfectly edible? It could be coming to a warehouse near you…
Credit: The Real Junk Food Project – Facebook
The Real Junk Food Project have just opened up the first supermarket in the UK that relies solely on donations from businesses, voluntary workers and operates a ‘Pay As You Feel' policy.
With PAYF, there are no set prices for products, but rather you just pay what you think the food is worth or what you can afford – and if you can't afford anything, you can pay by offering your time as a volunteer.
Operating out of a warehouse in Pudsey, near Leeds, TRJFP hope to help thousands of people to eat better and throw away less food.
What is The Real Junk Food Project?
There are a few supermarkets that already operate in a similar way in the UK – such as this 25p supermarket which opened in Cornwall last year – but no other supermarket is quite like this one.
TRJFP receive food donations from major supermarkets (they've now struck a deal with Ocado, Morrisons and Sainsbury's to receive their left over produce) as well as other sources such as local allotments, restaurants, cafes and even food photographers.
By offering up food that would have otherwise been discarded, the project hopes to lessen the burden on people struggling to find enough cash to eat well whilst simultaneously cutting down on the amount of food that gets chucked.
The Real Junk Food Project already runs cafes with a ‘pay as you feel' mantra up and down the country. Like this new supermarket, the cafes use food that would otherwise be thrown away, and only ask for a donation of what the customer can afford (or they can wash some dishes as payment if they'd prefer).
By the sounds of things, the produce that's up for grabs is by no means sub-standard either! The project's founder, Adam Smith, described what's available:
There’s a mountain of food. Marks & Spencer cakes and Ferrero Rocher chocolates and punnets of grapes and tomatoes and posh crisps and jars of olives and out-of-date bottles of that well-known easily perishable food substance – water – and down one aisle, dozens of clear plastic bin liners all filled with bread.
Is the project suitable for students?
Yes! TRJFP have made it clear on their website that the project isn't intended only to feed the homeless, and students shouldn't think twice about scoping their warehouses out.
We don’t just feed ‘homeless people’, ‘the needy’, nor do we just feed asylum seekers, refugees, or whoever. We feed 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.
In our Student Money Survey this year, 65% of students said that their diet suffers as a result of not having enough money. One student said:
I budget for £20 a week on food because otherwise I would not have had enough savings to buy my food for the whole uni year. This tends to mean that I don’t have enough money to buy a full weeks worth of food and have to only have 4-5 meals a week.
According to Love Food Hate Waste, seven million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in our homes. Not only is that incredibly wasteful, it also means that you are throwing away money!
It can be tempting to think ‘ew, no, this pepper is looking a little wrinkled…' So what? Don't judge, you'll be wrinkled too in 60 years time! Don't throw away the pepper – use it. If your food is beginning to look a little sad, revive it! Bought too much food? You'd be surprised at how much you can freeze.
TRJFP are hoping to expand their warehouses across the UK, but until then here's 10 ways to (legally!) score free food.