Bruges Dolceloca

DolceLoca

Food waste is a huge issue in the western world, with over 3 times the amount of food needed to feed the hungry, thrown in the trash, simply because it’s not eaten. In England, people throw away a third of all food (mostly fresh produce, salads and bread – often because loaves and big salad packs are way too much for the average one or two-person household buying them). If supermarkets really wanted to reduce food waste, it could offer servings in smaller sizes.

Bruges (or Brugge is you’re Flemish) is a beautiful and perfectly preserved medieval city in the country of Belgium, just across the water from Suffolk and Norfolk. As well as Brussels becoming the first city in northern Europe to attempt to go zero waste, Bruges itself is effectively tackling food waste, by working with all local people and shops.

It focuses also on the healthcare industry, after it was found to be wasting around 318 tons of food each year (just with hot meals) and after just 2 years, managed to reduce food waste by half in the main hospital, and this saved money, as well as carbon emissions (and of course food).

French people don’t waste food. In France, it’s ILLEGAL to throw out food! All edible food has to be donated if still in date, or you’ll be accosted by a gendarme with his baton! This law has been around since 2016, so why is our government taking so long to follow suit? It’s estimated that UK supermarkets throw away around 190 million meals a year, which could feed hungry people.

a freezer of love for hungry people

Freezers of Love is an innovative idea from Gloucestershire (England), run by an award-winning social enterprise. If it makes you miserable that vulnerable go hungry (while big supermarkets make a fortune), be inspired by this outfit that cooks up excess food (from shops and allotments) to serve free meals to local hungry people.

Founded by two friends who shared a mutual dismay of how society is ‘doing food badly’ and leaving people unwell and lonely (in a country where a third of all food grown and made is never eaten) they decided to do something to help. The meals are offered free or a pay-what-you-can donation, with money given used to invest in pay-what-you-want cafes and a Teenage Kitchen (one student has already found a job as a baker at a local farm cafe, proving this model is also creating stable full-time jobs).

how Jack Monroe is helping to reduce food waste

Food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe recently launched her own Vimes Index, saying that supermarkets had used inflation as a cover to raise the prices of everyday goods (like apples) but kept existing prices for luxury goods (like champagne). Jack was recently contacted by an elderly gentleman who had eaten a teaspoon of toothpaste for his dinner, to fool himself into thinking he had eaten something. Tesco responded by saying their own prices are affected by rising energy prices. But this is because big supermarkets use oil from lorries (bringing foods from central distribution houses miles away (that are heated by oil) and many foods are made from factory-farmed animals (powered by fossil fuels) and palm oil (lots of oil to fly them to England from Indonesia). That’s why trying to find local walkable shops that sell seasonal foods is a good idea.

The Vimes Boots Index is a warning shot to retailers who keep their £7.50 ready means and £6 bottles of wine at the same price for a decade, while quadrupling the price of basic stock cubes and broken irregular grains of white rice. This issue isn’t going anywhere, and neither am I. Jack Monroe

vegan artisan beers (made from bread waste)

toast brewing

Almost half the bread sold in England gets thrown away, so using it to make beer, seems like a mighty find idea! This also reduces costs to brewers (so the savings are passed onto you) and reduces climate emissions (less energy needed to harvest and transport malt).

Toast Brewing replaces 25% of brewing yeast with surplus sandwich loaves and ‘heel ends’ from bakeries. So far saving 3 million slices of bread from going to landfill, other malt is bought from regenerative farmers, with spent grains collected by local farmers.

Don’t give leftover crusty/stale/salted/buttered bread to garden birds or wildfowl, as it can choke, harm or smear on feathers (affecting waterproofing/insulation). A little fresh soaked wholemeal bread may be okay. But if everyone does this in a country of 60 million people, birds end up eating our food, rather than their natural diet. Leaving bread out also attracts unwelcome garden visitors, like rats.

The company also gives 100% of profits (after costs and staff salaries) to good causes, mostly to Feedback, a food waste charity founded by Tristram Stuart, who says the world throws away enough food to feed the world’s hungry people three times over. Volunteers for its Gleaning Network turn surplus farm produce into free meals, and once even cooked a dinner to ‘feed the 5000’. Jesus would be proud! Tristram is Toast Brewing’s ‘Golden Shareholder’, to ensure it never ‘sells out’. It’s also working with another social enterprise to serve coffee by day in a taproom and beer by night, preventing food waste and homelessness.

The beers are available in four flavours. Although beers use bread without seeds, nuts, fruits or vegetables (to avoid flavour contamination), upcycled ingredients means there are no allergy guarantees. The company also does not use oily bread – so no focaccia beer!) Choose from:

  1. Grassroots Pale Ale  (peaches, passionfruit & pineapple)
  2. Rise Up Lager (an English Helles-style beer)
  3. New Dawn Session IPA (punchy citrus & floral notes)
  4. Changing Tides (0.5% low-alcohol citrus-spice lager)

Crumbs Brewing

Crumbs Brewing (Surrey) was founded by a small bakery. The owners used to run a pub, so it was obvious what to do with the bread waste! The all-vegan range includes:

  1. Sourdough Pale Ale
  2. Bloomin’ Amber Lager
  3. Rye Ruby Ale
  4. Naan Laager!

silicone trays to freeze soups, rice & bread

soupercubes

If you like making soup but find you have too much leftover, Souper Cubes (US – sold in Lakeland) are what you need! They let you freeze the rest in perfect portions, to pop out and heat up when you next want soup. An ideal way to save waste and encourage you to make homemade soup from scratch. Silicone is made from a blend of fossil fuels and sand, but one purchase lasts years. It’s food-safe, easy to recycle and doesn’t break down into millions of microplastics.

Each Souper Cube has fill lines to help you freeze perfect portions, and the trays are designed to freeze in various portions. The 1 and 2 cup trays have double the capacity of ice cube trays, and are designed to fit perfectly in standard freezers (they were created in the mind by a busy mother and designed by her engineer husband!)

Use to also freeze other goods like spaghetti sauce, bread or anything you like! After freezing small portions, just pop on the snug lid to keep out odours, then stack the tray in your freezer. When ready, just take them out and heat up your soup. Not just for freezers, you can also use them to bake foods, due to silicone being able to withstand high temperatures.

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