Humans have a food waste problem: Every year about one third of the food we plan to consume ends up lost or thrown away, and supermarkets are among the worst offenders. Now, a new store in Pudsey, England is offering an alternative to conscientious shoppers. As Metro reports, The Warehouse sells food that would have otherwise been tossed on a "pay-as-you-feel" basis.
The shelves of the newly-opened supermarket are stocked with donations from local businesses, including restaurants, caterers, food photographers, and conventional grocery stores. A lot of the items have exceeded their sell-by date—a vague label that doesn’t necessarily mean that food is unsafe to consume. The dates on their so-called "expired" bottled water, for example, are pretty much meaningless.
The supermarket is run by a UK-based organization called the Real Junk Food Project. Like The Warehouse, the cafes in their global network sell food that would have been wasted and urge their patrons to pay however they can. This means that customers can pay with money, volunteer hours, or pay nothing at all.
Their flexible payment policy makes the market a valuable resource for citizens in need, but the organization makes it clear that they serve the whole community. According to the organization's website:
“In order for us to prove the value and safety of food waste, we couldn’t just feed specific demographics of people. We believe food waste is absolutely fit for human consumption and so that’s who we feed—human beings.”
The Warehouse is reportedly the first supermarket of its kind in the UK, but similar food waste projects have been launched elsewhere on the continent: In March, Denmark welcomed a grocery store chain that sells “expired” food exclusively.
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