Café is tackling food waste - and changing lives

A church-run café in Leeds is making a big impact in the fight against food waste, as well as building a unique community.

A recent external evaluation of The Real Junk Food Project at All Hallows Church in Hyde Park found that for every £1 of volunteer time and donations, the café generates £15 of social value. Not only did the café serve 3,600 meals from 8.64 tonnes of intercepted food that would otherwise have gone to waste, but one in two customers report that they have been motivated to reduce their own household food waste as a result of the café.

Café Manager Emma Mawer said: “Our delicious meals made from food destined for the bin, on a pay-as-you-feel basis, offer something unique and essential. This report now gives us strong evidence of our impact on the environment and the community. The Real Junk Food Project network is expanding at an amazing rate - we’ve just seen TRJFPs cafés open in Horsforth and Woodhouse - to add to the 30 cafés (including pop up events and PAYF stalls) in Leeds alone!”

Revd Heston Groenewald (left) of All Hallows Church said, “The report is an inspiring and hopeful read, translating the hard work of our wonderful volunteers into quantifiable good news!”

The evaluator estimates the café has saved the equivalent of £25,380 of household food waste by raising awareness of the issues and changing the attitudes of those who come to the café. This value would mean an annual reduction in personal food waste of 17% per customer.  In addition, nearly half (48%) of the customers reported improved physical health from eating healthier food and skipping fewer meals, while a full 2/3 also said that they felt a greater sense of support and belonging to the community.

In the UK, there are 4.2 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste each year. Individuals waste an average of £200 worth of food per year.

For more information about The Real Junk Food Project, visit therealjunkfoodproject.org and for questions about the evaluation, contact Carley Centen at 0750 503 8337 or carley [at] impactmetrics.co.uk.

Notes

Figures based on the report “The Real Junk Food Project at All Hallows Café: A Social Return on Investment Analysis”. Download a copy at http://www.impactmetrics.co.uk/blog/report-building-community-whilst-tackling-food-waste/

Evaluation included survey of 27 customers and 10 volunteers in February 2015

Figures for UK based on: Household Food and Drink Waste in the United Kingdom 2012. WRAP. July 2013.

 

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