Much is reported these days about the amount of food waste being dumped into our bins and landfill sites. Most of this food need not be waste at all – it is perfectly edible and fresh and is simply the result of over-ordering or broad-brush stock control procedures.
Enter the champions of food waste reduction: the committed volunteers who collect huge volumes of this unwanted food and turn it into healthy, tasty and attractive meals and then offer it at a “pay as you feel” café near you. This is the Real Junk Food Project – a network of cafes in the UK and around the world.
The Real Junk Food Project is a registered charity that collects food donations, in large quantities, from local supermarkets. The food is still perfectly usable but would otherwise be destined for disposal as the supermarkets re-stock with other products. The project cafes are staffed by volunteer managers, chefs and servers.
So how did Premier Waste Recycling Ltd (PWR) get involved? Simple – the two local outlets in Leeds felt they were getting a raw deal from their waste collection providers, so they turned to Leeds City Council for advice in the hope they could suggest an alternative. The council recommended they talk to us at PWR, which they did and we were so impressed by the project we offered to provide their waste collection requirements for free.
“We felt like we were getting screwed over by another waste company and decided to ask the local authority for help. Leeds City Council introduced us to Phil [Darwin, General Manager at PWR]. He visited our Sharehouse in Pudsey and the rest is history. The relationship has saved us approximately £14,000 per annum.” Adam Smith, RJFP
The Sharehouse in Leeds handles around half a million tonnes of food each year. Recently, Phil and his team visited the Junk-tion Café in Armley, Leeds and were treated to an excellent meal of amazingly high quality, well-presented food. Phil commented: “What the Real Junk Food Project is doing is brilliant and we were already impressed with it. But then we had a meal there and we were blown away – it was like going to a top restaurant. The food was cooked perfectly and the presentation was fantastic. And this is all achieved by dedicated volunteers.”
The pictures below show some of the creations from RJFP’s talented chef:
There are around 70 Real Junk Food Project outlets around the country, all offering good quality food at whatever price you wish to pay. Individuals on low income, on benefits or on the street can all benefit from the Project. It is a vital source of affordable nutrition and a great meeting place for people who spend much of their time struggling alone.
Phil (far right) and his official tasting team
Phil added: “We are proud to be able to help the Real Junk Food Project continue its great work and we look forward to a long relationship with them.”