The leftover-loving guide to snagging cheap food
FOOD & DRINK | March 1, 2019

The leftover-loving guide to snagging cheap food

The leftover-loving guide to snagging cheap food

What if we told you that one of the best ways to help prevent food waste was by eating incredibly delicious food sold very cheaply? Did we hear a big “Yes, please!”?

These super-efficient redistribution projects connect us with tonnes of overstocked food from supermarkets, farm shops, restaurants and coffee shops; basically, freshly prepped items that are routinely taken off display beyond a certain time of day plus anything else that has reached its suggested Sell By or Best Before dates.

As well as diverting lorry-loads of perfectly edible produce from a useless fate in the bin and providing plenty of good food to homeless shelters, food banks and other supportive groups for struggling folks, the schemes fund themselves by offering us a taste of the action at super-discounts.

Let’s support them with our cash and fill our bellies with the most ethical food around. No bin diving necessary!


Takeaway food at 50%-80% discounts

Ever been to a Yo Sushi restaurant and wonder what happens to the little dishes that don’t get plucked off the conveyor belt in time? Anything that survives a few passes between the hungry diners is carefully fridged for pick up by users of the Too Good to Go app, who currently pay £3.50 for a random “Magic Bag” of sushi, sashimi and other delicacies normally priced at £10.

Offers change each day, based on what the food outlets have left in stock. At the time of writing, we could choose from leftover cakes and pastries, healthy salad bowls, sandwiches and soups, Mexican dishes, “gourmet” fried chicken meals, Arabic cuisine, cheese and charcuterie – all at between 50%-80% discount on the going rate.

If you’re ever in central London, Karma is a similar app rescuing unsold food from purveyors of fine foods in the capital.


Pay what you feel at your local food waste café

The Real Junk Food Project is an exceptional idea done really, really well.

Food is intercepted from waste and then prepared and served to anyone who wants to come and eat. It’s a ‘pay as you feel’ deal, so give generously if you can afford to help cover their costs. Those that can’t are welcome to eat for whatever contribution they can manage, for free or to give time in lieu of payment.

When we visited the Brighton branch, we found a friendly, diverse crew of around eighty people sharing a well-stocked table of professionally-made pastries, paella, casserole, pasta, frittata, quiches, interesting salads, fresh fruit and a variety of puddings. The conversation was cracking and the coffee made by their community baristas was even better!

Each of their food waste cafés is completely different, so why not visit them all?


Bargains to be had on short dated food

The Approved Food online storefeatures all kinds of weird and wonderful foodstuffs at heavy discounts, purely because they’re either over their Best Before dates or are approaching their Use By dates*.

Many of the best bargains come in multiples or catering-sized quantities, so to make the biggest savings without being left with a load of inedible excess (not ideal budgeting or food saving!), we’d recommend clubbing together with family or friends to order and then splitting the goods.

When we looked over the site earlier today, we sifted through a lot of junk food but picked out some choice healthy deals included three jars of Napolina olives for £1.20 (BBE* July 2018), three tins of Napolina borlotti beans for 99p (BBE August 2018), two jars of Patak’s curry paste for £1 (BBE March 2018) and five packs of chia seeds for £3 (BBE October 2017).


*Important to remember...

>> 'Use By' dates are a hard deadline Find a bargain product approaching its ‘Use By’? Do you have a plan for how to eat it up within the date or perhaps freeze it for a later meal? If not, it’s best to leave it on the shelf.

>> 'Best Before' dates, sometimes abbreviated as BBE, are indications of quality and not safety. Many foods served at food waste cafés or offered for sale on the Approved Food website will be past their ‘Best Before’ dates but still taste great.



Have you ever visited a food waste café? Or made the most of leftovers in other ways? Inspire us and share your thoughts with Greenredeem on Facebook or Twitter.



>> Meet the ‘stretchers’! The frugal way to make tasty food go further

>> Tastier leftovers from the freezer? Yes, with these tips!



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