Ever wondered what to do with food you can no longer use?
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure
As a foodie, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I have noticed that western countries have various solutions to this problem, which are not as widespread in developing countries or under-developed countries.
A month ago, I was in a panic because a lot of the food items I bought were about to expire relatively soon. As I really don’t like waste, I struggled with how to amend my diet to use them up quickly. Eventually, I gave up trying to do the impossible and decided using a product past its sell by date would not kill me. *FEEDBACK: the products are really still edible.
The fact that I had that many products expiring so close together bugged me because I realised I had stopped checking those dates whenever I went food shopping. I just assumed that the supermarket would be diligent enough to not sell me products expiring within a month or 2 at full price or without some promo to alert me to this fact.
TIP: wherever you are in the world, always check the sell by/use by dates before purchasing.
That being said, If you go through your pantry and realise you have food items that have gone past sell by dates / past your comfort zone for adventurous people 😉 or that you just no longer need PLEASE DON’T THROW IT OUT
Are you the type to throw out food you no longer want?
Here are suggestions for what you can do with those food items:
- LOCAL FOOD BANK DRIVES
- LOCAL SOUP KITCHEN
*these may not be new phenomenon to everyone, but can still be lifesavers to others.
If you live in a community where there are homeless people begging on the streets or even just beggars, these suggestions can definitely make a difference
LOCAL FOOD BANK DRIVES
#1 Start with a plan! e.g. where do you want to store these products?, how long for?, Logistics? etc
*depending on the use by/Best Before date, it is ideal to have a very short window in mind
#2a Collect such products from your local community, supermarkets and/or neighbours or invite them to contribute such products
#2b Do an inventory of all products collected
#3 Set up a pop-up stall maybe weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? or find a fixed space to use, in a place within close proximity to your target audience
#4 Sell these products using a Pay-What-You-Want Strategy
*this literally means letting the buyers pay whatever amount they feel like paying
#5 Prepare food hampers and give out to target audience e.g. low income/distressed schools, charitable organisations, etc
*it’s probably best to have an idea who your target audience is and where they are located…..so research first please!!
#6 Give proceeds to your local charity or charity of your choice
LOCAL SOUP KITCHEN
#1 Are you a chef? Self-proclaimed chef 😉 or do you know one? If so, how about roping them in for some charitable service?
#2 Collect food items from you local community, supermarkets, restaurants and/or neighbours or invite them to contribute such items
*If you live in a community where lavish parties are frequent, perhaps get them to contribute unused food items to this cause. You however have to be diligent about how you preserve and dispense with it.
#3 Do an inventory of all products collected
#4 Find your target audience
#5 Set up a stall or find a space where you can serve from
#6 Get your ‘chef’ to make simple staple dishes that your target audience will appreciate
#7 Spread the word through reputable channels and feed the needy in your community
If nothing else, you help prevent people eating out of trash cans or even worse, going without even 1 square meal. Let’s help give people back their dignity.
Making a difference does not have to be this huge overwhelming undertaking, it can be small and still have a lasting impact.