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In 10 Months, This Cafe Has Fed 10,000 People With 20 Tons Of Unwanted Food

Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 38 Comments


By Amanda Froelich | Waking Times

The social cafe prepares delicious meals from products discarded by supermarkets, independent grocers, and food banks. Patrons may also ‘Pay As They Feel’, so no one ever goes hungry.

Are you aware that in the United States, nearly 40% of the food produced is tossed into the trash? As it makes its way to the landfill, 795 million people in the world wonder where their next meal will come from.

Related Article: Help Convince Supermarkets to Give 55,000,000 Tons of Wasted Food to the Hungry

It’s ridiculous – as well as disheartening, which is why activists around the planet are doing their part to help reduce food waste and feed others with the discarded scraps.

This is exactly what Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, is doing in Armley, Leeds.

The social entrepreneur has created an empire of ‘social cafes’ through which to cook up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted products from supermarkets, independent grocers, and food banks.

The most unique aspect of the business model is that it has a “pay as you feel” rule. This policy encourages patrons to pay what they feel they can pay. If that amounts to nothing, then they can work for their meal.

The Independent reports that in only 10 months, Smith has helped feed 10,000 people on 20 tons of unwanted food. In addition, he’s raised over 30,000 pounds (UK).

Since its success, forty-seven other similar style cafes have popped up in Manchester, Bristol, Saltaire, Los Angeles, Brazil, Warsaw, and Zurich.

In the United States, a similar grocery store called The Daily Table transforms unwanted or ‘expired’ leftovers into perfectly nourishing and tasty food for customers. The founder of that endeavor is Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s.

It’s difficult for entrepreneurs inspired to repurpose food to carry out their vision, as in many areas of the world, retailers can be prosecuted if they sell food after the use-by date. The ‘best-before’ date is allowed, which is why Smith’s organization wants the law to be changed to prevent supermarkets from disposing of so much food at the fear of prosecution. 

Related Article: Meet the College Student Who’s Turning Campus Leftovers Into Meals for Thousands of Hungry Neighbors

Thankfully, progress is being made. Earlier this year, France made it illegal for supermarkets to purposely waste food. Stores must now donate unsold food to charity, for animal feed, or for farming compost.


Repurposed unwanted food. The Read Junk Food Project

Unfortunately, groups like Smith’s are often looked down upon because they seek food others deem not optimal for consumption. With a change of perspective, however, everyone might come to understand that a good share of food thrown into dumpsters is perfectly edible.

Related Article: Nation’s Poor Remain Hungry as Wall Street Feasts

Recognizing this sooner rather than later would benefit everyone on the planet.

In Britain, food prices have risen 47% since 2003, which is quite high compared to the United States’ 30.4%, reports The Independent. Germany’s food inflation is 22.1% and France’s is 16.7%.

When people struggle to afford the basic necessities in life, you can be certain there’s a fault – if not many – with ‘the system’.

The Real Junk Food Project is an amazing concept and business model which will, hopefully, inspire other social cafes to sprout and blossom, as well.

What are your thoughts? Comment below and please share this news!

About the Author

Amanda Froelich is a staff writer for TrueActivist.com, where this article was originally featured.

This article (In 10 Months, This Cafe Has Fed 10,000 People With 20 Tons Of Unwanted Food ) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

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38 Reader Comments

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  1. 660791137397492@facebook.com' John Pelletier says:


  2. 866136830169338@facebook.com' Poko Peg Bowers says:


  3. 1667214156872548@facebook.com' Linda Hand says:

    Wonderful. God. Bless. All. Of. U

  4. 10156390929895237@facebook.com' Sarah Reilly says:

    Great idea. Too much waste going on and also helps the poorer so win win

  5. 748641798592585@facebook.com' Stephanie Crighton says:

    BRILLIANT! Keep up the great work. There is something very wrong with restaurants that have to throw away food and a homeless person that has go digging thru the dumpster to find all the thrown away food. It’s utterly ludicrous that we can’t change the way we do things because of government regulations, corporate mandates, or just plain apathy. Nobody should go hungry in this world of abundance and waste.

    • 10207344787091846@facebook.com' Gill Needham says:

      How totally bizarre, as I was reading this story, I was passing Armley in Leeds on the train on the way to work! Spooky!

  6. 10205539238623202@facebook.com' Susan Popovich says:

    Fantastic. There is so much unneeded waste. Whatever a great way to use it.

  7. 1521124138211736@facebook.com' Stephanie Nuzzolo says:


  8. 10208234757016156@facebook.com' Lynn Needham says:

    We waste so much in today’s world without a thought. This makes solid sense to me. Congratulations to them!!!

  9. 871700646281706@facebook.com' Layne Tandeski says:

    I worked at Godfathers a while back and one of my jobs was to clear the buffet everyday. One day a homeless man was out back and was looking through the dumpster to find some food. I went and asked my boss if I could bring him some of this food since we were throwing it out anyway. He refused. Said if he wanted it he could get it out of the dumpster like he always did. Pissed me off. I did it anyway. And I got in trouble but I didn’t care. This is what our world has come to. If you can’t make money off of them they are not worth feeding. Disgusting. Needless to say didn’t work there long.

  10. 141285129573537@facebook.com' Felicia Orfanos says:

    Awesome, we need more people on this planet to do things like this

  11. 1115887931756046@facebook.com' Jeannie Tilfas says:


  12. 1656050734668511@facebook.com' Karen Hills says:

    Brilliant, one thing I can’t stand is food waste ?

    • 1176767259075076@facebook.com' Samantha Jane says:

      Me either!

    • 1656050734668511@facebook.com' Karen Hills says:

      Too many people all over the world go without everyday, in the UK we have food banks for people who are struggling, supermarkets are starting to give out of date food away for nothing but that’s only just getting going really, anything like this is just fab ?

  13. 1068483829842891@facebook.com' Nathan Dunning says:

    Awsome News worthy story. This something every city needs world wide

  14. 1653574948248665@facebook.com' Sharon Fullerton says:

    maybe in 2016 we are all going to be in trouble with the economy, we won’t be able to go to these restaurants, we will all be looking in dumpsters! Time to change the way we threw food out! Thank you Social Cafe for what you are doing!

  15. 10206433209741060@facebook.com' Cher Schweitzer says:

    This is the way it is meant to be…..sharing the excess! <3

  16. 10156184485660576@facebook.com' Kathy Wilcox says:


  17. 1527024640956079@facebook.com' Alice Roark says:

    Awesome to here this story!
    Good job hope you can keep it up!

  18. 169797373384245@facebook.com' Lara Blasko says:

    This is an amazing gesture! We take it for granted that we always have something to eat.

  19. 1043598405690355@facebook.com' Val Emerson says:

    Love love love it… One mans wasted food very likely could be anothers feast.. And it could be any one of us any day..as life can throw a wicked curve without discrimination…thanks for posting this piece…its awesome to read the comments of others on this article… What a great example this sets for our children… A great lesson to be taught in schools..

  20. 866844226723627@facebook.com' Laura Hill-Adkins says:

    This is awesome! No one should ever be hungry in America!!!!

  21. 144099595947164@facebook.com' Daniel Cox says:


  22. 921902167888914@facebook.com' Annie Halpin says:

    Wonderful idea should be Global.

  23. 1671201303149305@facebook.com' Walter Okande says:


  24. 819110478198626@facebook.com' Sandra Garrett says:

    It is shocking the amount of perfectly good food that supermarkets throw out when there are so many hungry people who could use it.

  25. 10153725185974471@facebook.com' Nihan Güleryüz says:
  26. 10153890249200996@facebook.com' Tanmayo Lawson says:

    Blessings to all involved.

  27. 1544106125908568@facebook.com' Andree Jacob says:


  28. 168159553548977@facebook.com' Teresita Bermudez says:

    Great! I’d been outside of the Philippines and several 5 star hotels posted which says about not wasting food. But I’d also witnessed that a lot of untouched food went to garbage bag. I just don’t know where they brought all those stuffs… I just wish it really wasn’t wasted at all…a lot of people were starving out there.

  29. 185810138437323@facebook.com' Andi Dukes says:

    @Daisy Muthoni Muibu this reminds me of Caux’ washing up area

  30. 1090642424281710@facebook.com' Dottee Nance Schlag says:

    Stephanie Stephanie

  31. 10153910637149479@facebook.com' Manmeet Kaur says:

    much needed in today’s world ! one of the reasons synonymous with why going vegan is so important today— to tackle food hunger of the world ! <3

  32. 472882586225324@facebook.com' Janice Hassen says:

    I think this is wonderful!!!!

  33. 10204899691875597@facebook.com' Juan Van Zyl says:


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