Shoppers are reaping the rewards by spending loose change to buy stock thrown out by top supermarket chains – following the opening of the UK’s first food waste shop.
The supermarket, in a warehouse in Pudsey, Leeds West Yorks., is made up of shelves, pallets and domestic fridges.
Stock includes basics such as bread, both branded and supermarket own, fruit and veg, chocolate, as well as packaged sandwiches, luxury items such as capers and prosecco, and even pulled pork rolls from Greggs.
There are bunches of flowers, a freezer full of meat good and pre-packaged pies, and also large boxes of noodles and soya spread on offer, pallets of flour alongside massive jars of mayonnaise and mustard.
The food is all priced on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis – and a bucket for donations holds a majority of coppers with a few pound coins in for good measure.
The initiative set up in Pudsey, West Yorks., by food waste campaigners Real Junk Food Project has already helped desperate families to feed their children.
Customers who attend ‘The Warehouse’ store are invited to shop for food thrown out by supermarkets and other businesses.
Signs around the aisles tell visitors: ‘The average UK family wastes £50 in food every week’.
Hilda Parker, 62, has been volunteering with The Real Junk Food Project since January, after hearing about them on Radio 4.
The retired NHS health researcher from Leeds, West Yorks., said the fresh produce goes first and some of the bread is the hardest to shift.
“At the moment we are opened about 9-5, seven days a week.
“Fresh stuff probably is the first to go, we are very low at the moment but because there is less of that some of the other stuff is going which is less likely to go.
“We can never really get rid of all the bread, it’s over produced. The really bad thing is all the stuff we throw out we have to pay to get taken away.
“I think there has been some talk about reducing bread because we do the supermarkets’ work for them.
“It goes to generate some type of power with the food waste.
“I know we are paying around £300 to get rid of it all a month, mostly bread and some of the ready meals that go off.
“When some people feel bad about taking stuff, just remember if you didn’t take it we’d be paying for it to be dumped.”
Hilda added: “This is the lowest I’ve seen this one stocked in four weeks, usually we have much more fresh stuff.
“We have yoghurts, sandwiches, and some milk in the fridges and also some tripe.”
Real Junk Food Project have said they will be opening stores in Sheffield, South Yorks., and Bradford, West Yorks., in the future.