This Foundation Is Doing Something Revolutionary With Leftover Groceries: Pay What You Can

In an effort to fight back against food waste, the Real Junk Food Project (RJFP) has opened a supermarket that is making people think about our current grocery system. They take the excess food that would normally be tossed into the garbage by bigger retailers and make it available to low-income families who only have a certain amount of money allotted for food every month. In addition to “the warehouse” of surplus food for sale, they are also partnered with 125 cafes that serve meals made of surplus food that would have been wasted. 9-28a11

Before you compare them to dumpster divers, they point out the real flaw in the grocer business.

These big retailers are so big they can afford to sell only a proportion of ‘units’ and discard the rest,” Fearnley-Whittingstall writes. “Waste – hundreds of thousands of tonnes of it – is built into the system.”

So they take those ‘units’ that won’t be sold in bigger stores due to lack of space and help others get access to edible food that is still perfectly good. To clarify, it isn’t that the food has gone bad or that it is somehow flawed, but strictly because the grocer ordered overstock to make the shelves look full and end up having too much to actually sell.

These large stores are so big that the cost of the waste isn’t something that they need to do anything about. Until something changes, organizations like the RJFP will just have to get more and more creative. For now, we think they have done an awesome job.

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