With four days to go, the Manchester branch of the Real Junk Food Project has reached its £20,000 crowdfunder target, which means that the city’s first ‘food waste’ restaurant will soon open.
Real Junk Food Project, a nationwide enterprise, intercepts food sourced from wholesalers, supermarkets and restaurants, that might otherwise be thrown away.
The Manchester arm of the organisation, led by Corin Bell and former Aumbry chef, Mary-Ellen McTague, has been searching for permanent space for some time.
Since breaching the £20,000 target, the team opted to initiate a “stretch target” of £25,000, before opting for a further £5,000 on top of that.
The additional money will be used to buy small equipment and sundries necessary to operate the restaurant and will help chefs convert more wasted food into meals.
Once open the restaurant will operate on a pay-as-you-feel basis, meaning that customers are able to pay as much or as little as the like for the food that they eat — offering a viable option for those under financial constraint.
On its crowdfunder page, the restaurant says:
Using wasted food ingredients, focussing on cooking and serving hot meals, and offering meals on a pay-as-you-feel basis means that RJFM also reverses the trend of the poorest in our city having the worst diets, and having really limited access to healthy food.
“By sourcing food that would go to waste, the project intercepts a huge quantity of basic, healthy ingredients, offering access to good food, and further bucking the trend of the most vulnerable in our society being offered heavily processed, tinned or dried meals.”
Corin Bell, director of Real Junk Food Manchester spoke to the Bury Times, saying:
We started in May 2014 doing pop-up events all over the city and since then we’ve catered for weddings, gala dinners and made nutritious home cooked meals for residents at hostels.
“All our ingredients are perfectly edible but might not be up to supermarket or wholesalers standards.
“That’s usually because food in a supermarket needs to have a sell-by date and once it’s past that, it’s thrown out.”
Just under ten million tonnes of food and food by products are wasted each year from the food industry alone.
Although 56 per cent of this is deemed unavoidable, tighter restrictions are being placed throughout all stages of food production to curb the amount heading to landfills.