There is a new not-for-profit restaurant in Bristol called Skipchen which is ran by a team of volunteers who use the food that supermarkets throw out after their best-before dates. There has recently been a considerable amount of news about the amount of food that is wasted due to people looking at best before dates, with seven million tonnes of food and drink being thrown out each year – a staggering 19 per cent of everything bought. In a previous blog we spoke about how to source food for your restaurant and this could be one way to go about it!
The Love Food Hate Waste campaign was set up back in 2007 to raise awareness of the amount of food that is unnecessarily thrown away. An average family could save up to £60 a month if they checked their food before they threw it away according to Love Food Hate Waste, who also publicised the fact that food wastage costs the average household around £470 a year and around £700 a year for families with children. The waste from all the perfectly good food and drink thrown away makes up 4% of the UK’s total water footprint, meaning that if households stopped wasting food it would enormously benefit the planet and be the equivalent of taking one in every four cars off the road.
The good news is that since the campaign started in 2007 food wastage has decreased by 21 per cent due to movements such as Skipchen. The restaurant serves a wide range of dishes from crab and king prawns to baked beans on toast, and every day the menu changes depending on what leftovers the volunteers can find. Co-director of The Real Junk Food Project, Sam Joseph, said: “We take food that would otherwise go to waste.
“The way we do it when we go ‘skipping’ is we do it as soon as they throw the food away. We see them do it and get the food out and into a refrigerator straight away. I am really conscious of food safety and food hygiene.” Meanwhile, Skipchen’s chef Dylan Rakhra, who cooks a range of different dishes on a daily basis, said: “We get different foods in every day, loads of stuff – bagels, lobster, lettuce. It’s really fun. You look at what you’ve got, you make up meals and serve them. People seem to be loving it.”
As soon as the doors of the restaurant shut the volunteers head to the supermarkets in order to take the food that has been thrown away and bring it back to the restaurant. Sam Joseph added: “We get the food from anywhere and everywhere that has food going to waste. If edible food is going in the bin that’s wrong. We really need to get it to people. We have cases of malnutrition rising in the UK. This isn’t something happening over in Africa. People here are struggling to feed themselves nutritiously. The real crime is the supermarkets throwing that edible food in the bin. That’s what we need to change.”
Customers who have tried the food at Skipchen have all been pleasantly surprised, and as it is a non-profit making company customers are invited to make a voluntary donation instead of paying for their meals. The restaurant is based in a small room which was kindly donated to them by a pub called Crofters Rights and shuts at around 3:30 each day. As business is booming the volunteers want to expand their company in the near future, and claim that their business is supported by a range of customers from students and the unemployed to business men and women in suits.
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