Food wastage is a common phenomena we are not unfamiliar with, with supermarkets and restaurants adding to it everyday. The humanitarians at The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) have revolutionised the way we look at food waste with their latest project- ‘The Warehose’ — U.K’s first supermarket entirely dedicated to reducing the food waste in the U.K. TRJFP have already established food banks and ‘pay as you feel’ cafes targetting the food wastage problem.

The Warehouse on the Grangefield Industrial Estate in Pudsey, Leeds, is stocked with surplus food from supermarkets and local businesses where people can pay what they feel for the goods. And these good folk accept payment in money, time, or skills.

The Inception

Chef Adam Smith, founder of TRJFP, says the supermarket was never planned. They were intercepting enormous amounts of food from various sources at their headquarters in Leeds. As a result, they had surplus food which, in spite of their best efforts, they couldn’t stop from rotting. As a consequence, they opened the warehouse up to the public, and it was an instant success. People were able to afford food they couldn’t before, and it has even helped homeless families access food after long periods of hunger.

How Does It Work?

People may be critical about buying food that has been thrown away or donated by other establishments, and they understand that. So what goes in to the selection process of what’s put on the racks?

Sam Joseph, one of the TRJFP directors, said the team uses common sense when selecting food to sell to the public. Most of the food served are low-risk and do not get rotten easily. For perishable items, they are very careful. “Often ‘best before’ dates are so arbitrary — who says that bang on 11:59pm some food is going to go off? In our eyes, if a vegetable is not mouldy, then it’s fine to eat,” he said.

How Can Food Wastage Be Stopped?

The idea of using food that had been thrown away began three years ago when a cafe offering meals produced from waste food, opened in Armley. There are now over 100 similar cafes running across the world.

So, the next time you think of throwing away good, reusable food, there may be someone out there who could make a meal from it. Food for thought, huh?

Check out Aditi Sriprasad’s post on