The Food Rescue Patrol needs YOU to save the world!

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A new category of Superheroes has landed! They call themselves #Food rescuers or #Food Justice Activists and they are here to save the Earth.

Take it literally.

Did you know that 1/3 of all food ends up in the trash every year? Imagine going out of the grocery store with 3 full bags, dropping one and simply not bothering to pick it up!

Everyday in New York City alone, 1 American out of 6 struggles with hunger while 40% of the food is wasted ..Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 22.02.19

And who do you think are the biggest wasters? Us! Households actually throw more edible food than restaurants and supermarkets!

The good news is there are endless ways to make changes in our homes and our cultures .It’s just a matter of being a bit more creative, generous and curious. At the end of the day, we’ll not only share more and eat better, but also save money and energy… Icing on the cake, we’ll also make new inspiring and like minded friends. Here are a few ways to go:

  1. Give food the respect it deserves so our children will keep up the good spirit

Did you know that 67% is wasted by consumers themselves, and another 15% by restaurants, while shops and distributors waste 11% of the total ? Want to have an everlasting impact on the planet? Learn what do to with your leftovers and teach your family to take only what they can eat. Aside from the moral imperative of not wasting, we can all curb the emission of planet warming gases linked to agriculture which accounts for 20% of overall green house gas emission ..

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Serve your kids small portions, allow them to help themselves (encourage them to take small portions and go back when they are hungry will also help them in gauging their appetite). Buy just what you need (never go shopping on an empty stomach, we all know how it ends ..).

Make an Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink meal at least once a week. Clean out the fridge and get creative! Cooking is about creating, not wasting, and this is a great way to make something new—throw recipes and insecurity to the wind and get cooking! If you’re stumped, ask your kids to help; believe me, they’re creative. Vegetable lasagna, quinoa patties, rainbow taboule with all the leftovers of fruits and VG you can dice .. Here are only a few ways to discover all the hidden treasures you have in your fridge :

Another way to contribute to the Zero Waste movement is to stop thinking that only what looks good tastes good. Tons of fresh fruits and vegetable are thrown to the trash every day just because they don’t look good enough. How crazy is that that if an apple is not round enough or a banana not nicely curved, farmers can not sell it?!

At least France (ah, so proud of my home country sometimes!) came with a great initiative that is now replicated in many other countries. Click on the picture and save the Inglorious fruits and vegetables :

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2.Share the leftovers

Use your phone !

Have your heard about CropMobster ? it is free service for local food producers “connecting farmers and producers, food businesses, gardeners, hunger relief groups .. anyone!”. Any community grocers, restaurants and citizens with surplus food can make donations to local organisations. Whether your surplus is artisanal bread, organic cow cheese or 1 ton of cucumbers, just post a donation alert and connect with your community hunger relief organisations. This is the kind of alert you’d read:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 14.20.07Too much catering food at our company. Please come and grab some!”

I’m looking for an overgrown or underused blackberry patch where I can do some gleaning.Then I’d be happy to share my pickings with you”.

Isn’t it great? The lucky people of Whales have OLIO, which I dream to replicate in every big town of the world: OLIO is a free app connecting neighbours so surplus food & other items can be shared, not binned. The must have for all food lovers and waste haters.

New Yorkers also have #Pareup, that aims to link with supermarkets, restaurants and other food distributors to reduce food wastage. They pair businesses who have unsold food with customers who want to buy it for a discount. Sellers reduce food waste while still making money, and buyers help out while getting great deals on quality food. And everybody is happy.


The American of Food Runners have been dedicating their time and energy to Food Recovery for 30 years!

The Californian organisation is currently delivering over 15 tons of food a week that would otherwise be thrown away. Enough to provide 5’000 meals a day in San Franciso! 250 active volunteers, and more than 450 restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and other businesses regularly donate perishable and prepared foods. How inspiring is that?!

Another way to help is to donate leftover food to solidarity fridges.

Make the maths: 100% profit for the consumers, customers, the economy and, last but not least, the environment.

3. Do good and eat (very) good! Choose Waste Free resto

Restaurants are throwing about 15% of their food. No wonder why the most influential Food Rescuers are to be found among Chefs.

Meet with the famous Deutsch Food Rescuers Selma, Merel, Bart and Freke. Two years ago, they were colleagues at the Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn and are now the founders of the famous InStock restaurants. “We saw on a daily basis how much good food was wasted because the supermarket couldn’t sell it. We agreed that something needed to change.

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We wrote a business plan and presented this to the board of Albert Heijn. With their support, we started the foundation Instock. Now, two years later, we have a restaurant in Amsterdam, one in The Hague and opening one in Utrecht later this year. We also have a toko in Amsterdam, and we even make Pieperbier, a beer made out of the potato surplus. We already rescued 150.000 kilos of food“.

No wonder InStock is such a success: the menu varies per day, based on ‘the harvest of the day’, so what they rescue on that day. “It’s a surprise every day, for our cooks and for our customers“.

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who could believe this is made out of “wasted food”?

InStock Food Rescuers mission goes beyond their kitchens: they are real inspirers who are notably teaching how to conserve food, running masterclasses and they recently ran a 31-day no food waste challenge.

Quite amazing to think that people are lining up before a resto that serves rescued food (that would have otherwise become waste or trash!).. I have been wondering if this was another hipster fad, but the owners of InStock strongly believe that a social awakening is slowly happening.

Adam Smith, the founder of The Real Junk Food Project totally agrees. He has created about 40 restaurants from collecting the “junk” from households, cafes, restaurants, food banks, and allotments and even food photographers.  “We make a judgment on whether or not it’s fit for human consumption, and if we believe that it is, then we’ll use it. If we don’t, then we’ll compost it for our open-grow garden”.

Et voila! they serve delicious casseroles straight from the garbage !

What I love about those café is their concept to “Pay What you Want” : Many of them give customers the chance to work for their food, washing dishes or prepping vegetables in the kitchen.. The perfect PWYW restaurant is like an idealistic society — everyone does their fair share. We are not talking charity, but society, where we are all doing our part. This is what I want to create in our next posting. A cafe where, once a week, people could pay what they want or exchange their skill for a lunch or a coffee.

More and more very famous kitchens and restaurants are now declaring themselves waste-free, whether that be motivated by genuine food waste concerns or a desire to not miss out on the next big thing. By embracing “ugly”and expired foods and putting an emphasis on reinventing leftovers, restaurants and consumers will be turning their focus to minimizing excess.

Take Massimo Bottura , whose restaurant Osteria Francescana has been  named the top restaurant in the world by World’s 50 Best. He made the headlines last month for leading a group of international chefs into cooking surplus Olympic Food for Rio’s poorest residents. His catering company produced some 5,000 meals daily using only those ingredients that would otherwise head for the bin, such as “ugly fruit and vegetables, or yogurt that is going to be wasted in two days if you don’t buy it,”

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After Rio de Janeiro, Bottura has plans to open the soup kitchens in cities like Montreal, Berlin, New York City, and his hometown of Modena. A lot of other chefs have taken an active stance against food wast such as Tom Colicchio or Dan Barber, the Blue Hill at Stone Barns .

In the Philippines where we are currently living, there is no such thing as food wasting. Restaurants give away, even in those big plastic trash bags. In any party, you’ll always leave with your bag of leftover. I have also been told that pigfarms are buying leftovers from resto. Watch this very short movie, you’ll get my point..

How about you? are you some kind of Food Rescuer too? Take this quizz to find out and let me know 🙂

Care for more? Just follow those links 

Love Food – Hate Waste Community

I value food


Jordan Figueiredo @EndFoodWaste

and some excellent food films to Inform and to Inspire ..

Bon Appetit my friends 🙂



37 thoughts on “The Food Rescue Patrol needs YOU to save the world!

  1. yes, this is such an important issue. i’ve been also trying to just buy what i need in the grocery store (and not with an empty stomach, it’s hard though haha) but it is so necessary to really stop wasting food & resources. good post 🙂

    1. Thanks dear 🙂 I believe we all can do something positive in this direction. It is like anything else we buy actually, less is more. We tend to use and care more of what we have if it comes in decent quantity. Plus we eat fresh, it is also healthier. In Europe I feel we are wasting a bit less than in the US because our portions are smallest. We don’t supersize anything. yet 😉

      1. For sure, it’s an issue that involves consuming in general: clothes, food, everything really! I hope Europe stays on that track and I hope the US makes smaller portions. I also took the quiz & and my food waste load is light, yay! thanks for those links! the i value food is so interesting.

      2. I am so glad you like this post too. Yes, I value food is great indeed. I also follow FoodTank on FB and they are very inspiring..
        I think Europe will stay on this track, it is very cultural. Look at the size of our coffees compared to what you d find in the US! I read in I value food that in the US the average resto meal is more than 4 times larger than it was in the 1950s. Look at the sizes of their cookies .. Result: eat more and/or waste more ! Both sad options 😛

  2. Such a good and worthy thing to write about, Estelea! My husband spent 5 years running a global network of food banks, and reducing food waste is indeed a great way to address hunger. Another problem is that food waste leads to the production of potent greenhouse gases, so our environment is negatively affected at the same time that people go hungry. And all because we throw so much food away and, as you said, spurn ugly produce and creative cooking practices. Let me assure you, my husband makes sure we waste as little as possible!

    1. I always knew such an open minded and humanist person like you could only be with a great man! 🙂 I am very impressed by his involvement, well done!
      You are very right to mention how our environment is also suffering from our sad wasting patterns. I was pretty shocked to realise that households were the ones wasting the most , I preferred blaming the restos .. On another hand it means that we have the power to change our behaviour towards food.
      I saw this great documentary “Just Eat It” and what a wake up call it was! I had no idea of what the farmers had to endure to sell us the “perfectly shaped fruit”.. Totally insane and absurd, and such an insult to nature ..
      Congratulate your husband from me and tell him we are looking up at people like him! So wish you guys could come to my wedding !!! X

      1. Oh, you are too nice! My husband is a really good person – better than I am for sure! What a kick it would be to celebrate at your wedding with you, but I know you will do enough celebrating for all of us. 🙂 When is that momentous occasion – I forget?

      2. The momentous date is still to be officially announced 🙂 We are still wondering if we should opt for a beach wedding in the Philippines or a garden one in France .. As we ll be traveling back home next month to check on a few places, we will make up our minds soon enough 😉 Stay tuned …

  3. Excellent post. We need to get it into people’s minds to talk about food waste, that’s when little changes will take effect. Change doesn’t have to involve a huge elaborate campaign. We all need to act and spread the idea.

    1. You are so totally right! Here in the Philippines (where we are currently posted), people give food away, there is no such thing as food wasting. That’s probably why it shocks me so much to see the amount of food thrown in the trash when we come back to Europe. I think it is really our role, as parents to educate our children so it starts with us and hopefully spread to others …

    1. Thanks for stopping by! In the Philippines i t is very different though, don’t you think? We never leave a party without the “compulsory” bag of leftover and I never threw anything here. Whenever we make too many cookies, we are sharing with the guards. It’s a normal thing, but not in my culture. We European are so closed, I mean we don’t interact that much with people we don’t know.Such a shame, another great lesson I have learnt here!

      1. Oh yes! I can attest. Maybe giving is really part of our culture maybe because we have a lot of feasts and celebrations. 🙂 I am glad you learned that from our little country, Estelea. 😉

  4. A very important issue…For my part, I go to the supermarket with a list, and stick to it! And I love leftovers! So I don’t waste much….but probably could still do a little more

    1. Bravo! I try to do the same, stick to the list and only to the list. Except when they miraculously have some biscuits imported .. from France! but then there is no waste at all, believe me 😉

  5. Ah you did your homework again. Lovely and very informative post!
    I just hate the feeling of throwing food either its a waste, leftover or just rotten.
    One thing I’ve learned from my husband is don’t get anything that you don’t need. He always asked me ‘ Do you really need that? ‘and it really helps sticking to the grocery list. A less is more approach in everything.

    1. Exactly ! less is definitely more, and we appreciate it so much better ..
      Marcel is the same with the “do you really need that”. It works. Even though it is utterly irritating when I am clothes shopping …

  6. I like that ad on the bin – hits the nail on the wall. Spot on with food waste and my heart weeps if I have to throw food away so I’ve done the “you know there are kids out there who are hungry and don;t have food to eat” on the kids…:p I like beign creative with leftovers too! 🙂

    1. I bet a chef like you must be really creative! As per the kids, they really made me realise that I had to cut with my “Jewish Mum” tendency to cook too much 😉 Doesn’t it feel so good when there is no leftover at all? Have you began to cook Deutsch? XXX to you all ❤

  7. I love the idea of not wasting any food and I’m trying hard to not throw anything eatable in the garbage. Back in Switzerland the Restaurants had someone pick up their left overs to then bring to pig farmers, just like you’ve mentioned in your post. In the cities there were volunteers who picked up what restaurants would have to throw out and brought it to homeless people. I’m not sure if it’s still the case but I sure hope so. One of my favorite episodes of Masterchef is when the contestants have to cook with the things that they normally would throw away.

    Both of my parents grew up in poor families so they were very aware of how to make the most out of everything although they had plenty when I was a child. It stuck to me. I still get chills when we are eating at one of our friends and she throws food out after dinner that would have fed our family for at least a week… More than once I thought I’m dreaming. I like to cook a lot when cooking but I know that everything will be eaten at the end of the week latest. What doesn’t get eaten that day will be a left over dish the next.

    I also discovered that some people find it not very “sexy” to eat left overs. Something I find incredibly stupid. From a waste of food point of view, from a waste of money point of view and from a general attitude point of view. Just because we have more than enough doesn’t mean we should waste it…

    Good to read you again, sorry for not having been here for so long!

    1. I so totally agree with you, on every single point! I would too be so shocked to see a friend throwing food still good!
      It would not happen in the Philippines. Any party, or diner you attend, the hosts will give you a doggy bag with the leftover. It is totally normal. THe first time I was a bit confused, it took me by surprise because it was a Bday party of a friend of my kids and I didn’t know the parents. Imagine my face when they gave me an empty bag to pick up all the leftovers I wanted .. Heu . I was wondering why she was giving me food, maybe she thought I did not have anything to eat at home? Another little cultural shock 😉
      Now I am totally used to it. Even if we know we won’t eat the cupcakes or the chicken wings we are bringing back, we take the bags for the street kids or for the guards will be happy to have a little extra for the night. It is just normal.

      Leftovers are sexy! It is all a question of packaging 😉 Let’s be creative and offer them the nice looks they still deserve! Bon Appetit 🙂 X

  8. Not only is this a huge important topic, your post gives a lot of well researched information, much of which many do not know about. Love the idea of the app in an attempt to reduce wastage.

    We all know that supermarkets and restaurants are so wasteful, but what I think your post highlights so well is what we as individuals can do to tackle this issue, starting with our own families and kitchens. Always the best place to make a difference.

    Just the sheer amount of plastic water bottles that people use in their homes, just once before the bottles are tossed into the garbage and land up on garbage heaps is quite astounding.

    thanks for an informative post on an important topic.


    1. Thanks a lot Peta ! Yes, the plastic wasting is insane too, and I am so mad to see that there is still no recycling in Cebu. Even in the “expat style” condos where we are. I can’t throw plastic and glass in the trash, even after almost 3 years here.. So we do at our little level, stimulating the kids’ creativity .. Now that they have learnt the RRR at school, I ll probably offer their teachers all the nice plastic bottles and recipients we have piled …After RRR in theory, it will be time for action 🙂

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