Food waste – From farm to table, rethinking the way we shop, cook and eat

Ideas, innovations and enterprises tackling food waste

It’s estimated that in 2015 UK households binned £13 billion worth of food. At the same time, millions of people across the world don’t have enough to eat. Without a drastic change to the current system things will only get worse as a result of climate change and the ever-growing population, which is set to reach over 9.8 billion by 2050!

Reducing food waste is not only good for the environment but it’s good for your pocket. By making small changes, such as writing shopping lists and checking fridge contents before going to the shops, storing food correctly to make it last, cooking the right portion sizes and using up the food we already have in our homes, we can all do our bit in reducing the food that ends up in the bin.

But it’s not just at home where change needs to happen. Food waste is a major issue throughout the supply chain from farm to table, including in supermarkets and in the hospitality industry.

In the first of a three-part series, we look at some of the innovations and enterprises rethinking our food system to tackle food waste.

Buy what you need…

By planning ahead, writing shopping lists, buying what you need and getting creative in the kitchen you can cut down dramatically on how much you throw out each week.

Original Unverpackt (Berlin, Germany) 

Original Unverpackt (“unpackaged” in English) is a zero waste grocery store, possibly the first in the world. By allowing customers to buy exactly how much they need, they help to reduce waste at home. There are no plastic or paper bags and customers are encouraged to bring containers from home to fill with the produce they want to buy.

Wasteless Pantry (Perth, WA, Australia) 


Similar to Original Unverpackt, Wasteless Panty customers in Western Australia fill reusable containers with the groceries, personal and home goods they want reducing waste and avoiding packaging.

Buy for less…

Wefood (Copenhagen, Denmark) 

“Denmark’s first-ever surplus food supermarket”, Wefood sells goods that supermarkets are no longer able to sell due to damaged packaging or overdue “best before” dates. Food is donated by supermarkets and sold on at a discounted price. Established by the Danish charity DanChurchAid, Wefood aims to reduce food waste, benefit consumers and raise money for DanChurchAid’s work in developing countries.

Yume (Australia) 


Yume is an Australian-based social enterprise that is tackling food waste through an online wholesale marketplace for surplus food that “saves you money while saving the planet”. Surplus food from suppliers is listed on Yume’s platform for people to buy at discounted prices. Yume facilitates the transaction between the buyer and supplier and helps arrange delivery. Remaining unsold food can be donated to charities to help those most in need.

Niftie’s (UK)


Niftie’s is an online marketplace selling discounted products that are surplus stock, have damaged packaging and/or are short-dated. Niftie’s also runs a community shop in Dover, Kent. Launched in 2016 it claims to be the first “social supermarket in the country”. Its main aims are to tackle poverty and reduce food waste.

Spade & Barrow (Australia)  
Spade & Barrow is a wholesale business that supports small farmers in Victoria (Australia) to sell fruit and vegetables that are viewed as “imperfect” by major retailers but aside from their shape or size are still edible. They buy the whole crop, regardless of shape or size, and provide a fair wholesale offer. By doing this, farmers are able to harvest their entire crop which is better for the environment and for the farmer. Produce is then offered to customers at a discounted price.

And if you buy too much…

Share with others using a community fridge, like The People’s Fridge in Brixton (UK). Or if you’re not lucky enough to live near one, why not start one using the step-by-step guide (see below)? And if that isn’t an option, there are some amazing apps out there to help people to share unwanted food and reduce food waste.

The People’s Fridge (Brixton, UK)


Following its recent crowdfunding campaign where it smashed its £1,000 target, raising £2,270, The People’s Fridge launched in Brixton. Run by volunteers, London’s first community fridge, Freddie, is open to anyone – anyone can donate food, including local residents and businesses, and anyone can take food out. To ensure health and safety there are guidelines on what food is accepted and volunteers check the food, monitor the temperature and clean the fridge every morning and evening. By encouraging food sharing, The People’s Fridge is helping to tackle poverty and reduce food waste.

​Want to start your own people’s fridge? Check out the handy step-by-step guide created by The People’s Fridge available for download here.

La Nevera Solidaria (Galdakao and Murcia, Spain)
Similar to The People’s Fridge in Brixton (UK), La Nevera Solidaria (the solidarity fridge) in Galdakao and Murcia in Spain prevents food being binned by restaurants and local businesses by providing a place for them to leave it so anyone can access it.

Olio (UK)


Olio is a free app connecting people with their neighbours and local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared instead of thrown away.

Do you know of any other ideas, innovations or enterprises that should be included above? Give me a shout here or @HMHtweets

Or maybe your social enterprise or non-profit needs some expert support? Find out more on how I can help you here.