Food waste campaigners save hundreds of loaves of Sainsbury’s bread to feed hungry schoolchildren in Leeds

So much bread is discarded by supermarkets that charities and schools are unable to use it all

Hazel Sheffield
Friday 17 June 2016 17:08
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Fred Fox - Fuel for School

A truck-load of bread has been saved from going to waste after it was picked up by a charity that uses surplus food to feed hungry schoolchildren.

The Real Junk Food Project, an organisation that turns surplus food from supermarkets into meals, picked up the haul of almost 800 loaves from a Sainsbury’s in Leeds.

The bread was unable to be sold because it was past its best before date.

It could be passed on to local school to feed children because it was not yet past its use by date and still fit for consumption.

“That’s nothing,” said Adam Smith, co-founder of the Real Junk Food Project. “That’s just one store. We’re collecting from 88 businesses in Leeds.”

Sainsbury's was unable to sell the bread because it was past its best before date (Real Junk Food Project/Facebook)

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, a team of four from the Real Junk Food Project deliver surplus bread, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from supermarkets and businesses in Leeds to schools in the area. The food, which may otherwise have found its way to landfill, is used to feed 12,000 children a week.

The Real Junk Food Project has an agreement with Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Ocado to collect waste as part of these supermarkets’ efforts to stop edible food being wasted.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said that the supermarket has over 775 partnerships with local charities to help redistribute surplus food from stores.

When it cannot send food to charities to be eaten by people, it converts it into energy through a process of anaerobic digestion.

Mr Smith said that the Real Junk Food Project cannot keep up with amount of food donated by the supermarkets.

“I wanted to show that picture to show that we’re are trying to get people to eat this food, but that so much food is being wasted that it can’t all be eaten,” Mr Smith said.

The Real Junk Food Project picked up almost 800 loaves of bread were picked up from a Sainsbury's in Leeds, representing two or three days' surplus

He said the Fuel for School project delivers between 20 to 30 loaves of bread per participating school in Leeds. Some of this and other surplus produce is sold cheaply to parents in the playground or used by the school to feed children in breakfast and after-school clubs.

The project wants to remove hunger as a barrier to learning, highlight the importance of nutrition and its links to learning. But it also wants to shine a light on the vast amounts of edible food that is wasted.

“It’s absolutely insane. We are four intercepting between 2 and 10 tonnes a day. We’ve got a 6000 square foot warehouse in Leeds,” he said.

The Real Junk Food Project delivers wasted bread to schools as part of its Fuel for Schools programme, to make sure that no child goes to school hungry

So much bread is discarded by supermarkets that charities and schools are unable to use it all.

“We currently take around 20 to 30 loaves of bread to each school and even they can’t turn it over,” Mr Smith said. “There’s enough bread made that even if we halved it we couldn’t use it all."

Supermarkets are trying to do more to reduce the 70 million loaves of bread that are wasted every single day in the UK.

Sainsbury’s has launched a scheme called Waste Less Save More to help customers cut down on food waste at home by finding new ways to use leftovers and sharing surplus food with others in their community.

Research by Wrap, an environmental charity, has shown that the average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals per week at a cost of £60 a month.

After trialling an the Fuel for School initiative with Richmond Hill Primary School in Leeds, the Real Junk Food Project has plans to roll it out to as many schools as possible.

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