One man’s trash is another man’s treasure
From Denmark’s food surplus supermarket, WeFood, which sells cut price produce that is past its sell by date but perfectly edible, to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s documentary Hugh’s War on Waste, which uncovered the shocking levels of food waste by UK supermarkets, including discarded produce such as beer, bottled water, chocolates, oranges, bananas and salad items all in their original packaging and, in some cases, not even out of date – the war on food waste is gaining ground.
Last week, the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) demonstrated the potential of such initiatives in the fight against food waste by hosting a gala dinner created from unwanted food – ingredients that would otherwise have been thrown away.
With a starter of baked mushroom filled with prawns, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese on a rocket salad; followed by a main course of chicken breast with a fillet of leek, smoked bacon and spinach with fondant potatoes and fresh vegetables, the IFST’s ‘Forgotten Feast’ was cooked using food provided by FareShare, a UK charity which redistributes unwanted food from the food supply chain to more than 2,000 charities and community groups.
“With an estimated 3.9 million tonnes of food waste coming from the UK food and drink industry, IFST decided to set itself the challenge of developing a top class three-course meal,” explains Jon Poole, IFST chief executive. “We wanted to prove that it is entirely possible to turn an environmental problem into a social solution.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, adds, “People often make assumptions about surplus food that has been rescued from waste, but the food that FareShare redistributes is in date and good to eat – and the positive response from ISFT members who enjoyed their meal is testament to that.
“But food waste isn’t just an environmental issue; the food we distribute ensures that frontline charities and community groups can provide meals for hungry and vulnerable people. With support from those in the food industry, we can ensure that more good food is saved from waste and make a greater social impact.”