The first food waste grocery store in the United Kingdom has opened, operating on a “pay-as-you-feel” model to help people on tight budgets obtain vital nutrition for their families. The Real Junk Food Project opened the store in Pudsey, near Leeds, and the warehouse is full of many of the same products found in regular supermarkets, except that they are closer to their expiration dates or have dinged or dented packaging. For whatever price they can afford, people can buy fresh pasta, juice, pasta sauce, fruit, vegetables, and even desserts.


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Globally, more than 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted or spoiled each year and some 795 million people lack regular access to healthy food. Finding ways to divert some of that food waste into hungry mouths has both environmental and public health benefits, so these so-called “food waste supermarkets” are a growing trend. The Real Junk Food Project opened the UK’s first such store after its success with a number of pay-as-you-feel cafes around the UK serving freshly prepared meals made from food destined to be wasted.

Related: 400 million meals are wasted every year in the UK alone

Since the store’s initial opening on August 29, staff of the Real Junk Food Project have attempted to operate the food waste supermarket (which is awaiting an official name) seven days a week (based on availability) to make food as accessible as possible to the local community. The organizers partner with other local nonprofits working to “rescue” food from the waste stream, stocking the warehouse shelves with all sorts of fresh foods that don’t quite meet the standards of regular grocery stores but are still perfectly suitable for consumption. This is the first such store in the UK, but it echoes similar programs elsewhere in Europe, such as Denmark’s WeFood, which started selling expired food products earlier this year in an effort to reduce food waste and connect people with affordable food.

Via The Independent

Images via The Real Junk Food Project