THE manager of a pay-what-you-feel restaurant in Manchester has described the amount of food waste in the UK as “completely wrong” and “unacceptable”. 

Chef Chris Haydon, the manager of Real Junk Food, which has opened on Oxford Street, says the restaurant will only serve meals made with food waste that would otherwise be composted.

He says the project aims to address large scale food waste and to reduce social exclusion.

He said: “Wholesalers deliver huge units of food but if a pallet, say strawberries, is damaged, the seller won’t just unpack it.

“It’s not economically friendly, which means it’ll go to waste and end up as compost. Instead of wasting good food, we pick it up and we use it to create delicious, healthy meals”

The project landed in Manchester after locals campaigned about the amount of food waste being produced in the city.

Mr Haydon said: “It’s a pay as you feel concept because it’s socially inclusive. There’s no fixed price and it’s accessible to everybody.

“It is also something that challenges people’s views on value. It gives customers the opportunity to think about how much they have enjoyed the meal, then pay what they feel it’s worth.”

The project extended into Manchester after two years of holding ‘Pop-Up’ events around the city.

Mr Haydon explained: “We’re Mancunians, it’s in our DNA to support and help people. We knew the people of Manchester would get behind the project, we’re not afraid to try new things or scared to challenge the status quo”

Real Junk Food has never bought any food, and don’t plan to according to Mr Haydon.

The food served has all been donated by companies, restaurants and wholesalers.

The restaurant serve between 80-130 meals a day and 600-700 meals a week but this is expected to rise.

The menu, which changes every day depending on the food donated to the project, is made to appeal to all diets including vegan and gluten free options.

He added: “If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide on the globe.”

There are many schemes in the city with similar concepts to the Real Junk Food Project such as “Food Cycle, Manchester” but nothing which takes food in to serve back to the people.

The restaurant is open Monday – Friday from 8am to 3pm.  Events run every other Friday in the evenings.

Click for more information about the Real Junk Food Project.

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