Taking on Food Waste, one tastebud at a time

About one-third of all the world’s food goes to waste, and how are the Dutch tackling this problem? Our Amsterdam correspondent Robyn finds out! 

Published by Robyn on 07/03/2018

As world citizens, more and more of us are becoming aware of our environmental impact on the planet. Veganism is on the rise, electric cars are ruling the roads, and sustainable startups are cropping up left, right, and centre. 

Never one to fall behind with trends, the city of Amsterdam is also taking an increasingly sustainable approach to living. From 3D-printed canal houses to trees that distribute free WiFi, the city is catering to the eco-conscious consumer. But, it’s not only futuristic tech innovations, more recently citizens of Amsterdam have taken things back to basics, looking at ways to better meet the supply and demand of food.

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Tastebeforeyouwaste Facebookphoto

Like most Western countries, food waste is a big problem here in the Netherlands. In fact, it’s estimated that one citizen wastes around 47 kg of food per year - most of which is usually perfectly edible. 

But, there is hope. In a 2016 survey, 60% of Dutch consumers expressed a wish for supermarkets to sell smaller packages to help prevent food waste. And, it doesn’t just stop at awareness.

Recently, Amsterdam entrepreneurs have taken food waste into their own hands. So, we decided to shine an (energy-saving) spotlight on 3 initiatives that are working hard to make a difference.

Taste Before You Waste

Founded in 2012, Taste Before You Waste is an Amsterdam initiative that encourages consumers to do exactly that - taste before they waste. 

On a mission to educate city dwellers to take responsibility for their food waste, Taste Before You Waste hosts regular events ranging from food markets to community dinners and workshops, showcasing the possibilities of food that is currently regarded as waste.

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Tastebeforeyouwaste Facebookphoto2
A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Tastebeforeyouwaste Facebookphoto4

The group of food-conscious volunteers save roughly 250 kg of perfectly good food from going to waste each week - gathered from independent grocery stores and organic farmers. It’s this food that is offered up at Taste Before You Waste’s events. One to watch out for is the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners. It’s a delicious and wholesome vegetarian meal made from local produce which would otherwise be wasted. The weekly dinner takes place in the Dokhuis Galerie and implements a pay as you feel policy to encourage engagement with the project!

Instock 

Another initiative driven by the desire to transform food surplus into delicious meals, Instock is the brainchild of 4 former Albert Heijn employees.

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Instock Facebookimage3

Working in such a large supermarket chain, the team saw first-hand just how much food stock goes to waste each day. Desperate to do something about it, their vision was to create a space to transform the excess stock into completely edible meals and products.

Now a thriving restaurant in Amsterdam East, Instock drives a ‘food rescue’ van around Albert Heijn stores in the local area collecting unsold food that’s nearing its expiry date. Since each day can bring a different selection of ingredients, the chefs at Instock pride themselves on their improvisation skills - building a creative and varied menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Instock Facebookimage2
A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Instock Facebookimage

The team have since expanded to the Hague and Utrecht and have developed a cookbook, food truck, and their own brands of beers, granola, and snacks. Alongside this, Instock has created a Food Rescue centre, enabling other restaurants and horeca venues to stock circular food and meals on a wholesale level; not only spreading their circular message but preventing further waste from inside the food industry.

ResQ

From turning excess products into delicious meals to the distribution of any excess meals. ResQ is the app that enables restaurants and cafes to sell their leftover meals and goods to customers at a discounted price. Although the app was first developed in Finland, ResQ has seen great success since its launch in Amsterdam in 2016. 

Selling meals that would otherwise go to waste, the app has helped make use of 200,000 kg of food since it’s launch in January 2016. That’s equal to the CO2 emissions of driving 10,000,000 km - pretty impressive, right?

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Resqclub Pressimage3 Copy

Consumers can use ResQ to order and collect unsold food made in restaurants, cafes, and bakeries on the same day, at a reduced price. Users can even choose a collection time that best suits them, making the app ideal for those who just want to grab something quickly after a long day of work. 

Dutch country manager of ResQ Club, David Kloosterboer, explains that the app “offers people the opportunity to easily buy affordable, healthy dishes and to try out new restaurants.” Not only benefiting the environment, but generating new income for restaurants and more variation for consumers.

A City Made By People Food Waste Amsterdam Resqclub Pressimage1

The ResQ team are working hard towards a bold vision to eliminate food surplus from restaurants, bakeries, cafes and hotels in Europe by 2030.

So, there we have it. Three initiatives that are already making fantastic progress when it comes to tackling food waste in the city of Amsterdam. Why not do something nice for the planet - and your tastebuds! - this week and check one of them out?

Words by Robyn Collinge
Photos courtesy of Taste Before You Waste, ResQ, & Instock

Are you thinking twice now of the food you waste? Thanks for this one Robyn! Read more inspiring stories on our cities and how they breathe, just follow the link to our store! 

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