First Food Waste Supermarket Opens in UK

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Real Junk Food Project which is run by a UK based organization has opened its first warehouse in Leeds. The warehouse acts as a food waste supermarket so that the underprivileged can take food which would otherwise have been thrown in the bin.

Humans have a food waste problem; every year, about one third of the food we plan to devour ends up thrown away and supermarkets are among the worst offenders. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched an analysis into the introduction of food waste laws following research which showed that eight million tons of food is wasted after production in the UK. Research showed that 60 per cent of these wastes could be avoided; an equivalent of £16 billion of food a year.

Other countries have already implemented the law to reduce food waste. In France, where it is against the law for supermarkets to dump excess food, retailers redistribute 100,000 tons to charity.

The new UK waste supermarket has deals with other supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Ocado, and also works with local allotments, cafes, restaurants, food banks and caterers. Operations manager Keith Annal said supermarkets “make so much food” and then they give out so much”. The supermarket urges its customers to pay whichever way they can. This means that customers can pay either with money, volunteering their time for the project, or pay nothing at all.

Although the food may be out-of-date, it is perfectly safe to eat. “We intercept food that is past its expiration date and use our own finding on whether we believe the food is fit for consumption or not, by smelling it, tasting it and visually checking it. We do not turn food away simply because it has ‘expired’, but we will never serve food that we believe is unfit for human consumption. They also have Marks & Spencer cakes, and other luxury goods such as posh crisps, grapes, tomatoes, jars of olives and Ferrero Rocher chocolates in the shelves.

With this fit, the Warehouse is seemingly the first supermarket of its kind in the UK, but, similar food waste projects have been launched elsewhere on the continent: In March, Denmark welcomed a grocery store chain that sells “expired” food exclusively.

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