Taking a step in the right direction…

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We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘reduce your carbon footprint’ when it comes to doing your best for the environment and climate change by recycling, watching your energy usage, and re-thinking how you travel. But there’s now a project taking that idea and applying it to food and food waste, appropriately named Foodprint. I met up with the project’s team leader Sam Deuchar for a chat.

Sam, 20, is a third year psychology student at the University of Nottingham and originally joined the Foodprint team as Marketing Director after one of his best friends in first year was HR Director and advised him to get involved. Originally named ‘Zest’ the project is part of Enactus Nottingham, who help set up a variety of social enterprises such as this one.

“We’re trying to tackle food waste and food poverty in Nottingham,” says Sam. “The UK throws 10 million tonnes of food waste every single year. That’s the equivalent of enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall every single day. At the same time there are so many families that can’t afford to feed themselves. The food is there so those two problems shouldn’t co-exist. This is just one step along the way to try and tackle that.”

The model consists of Foodprint working with businesses such as supermarkets, cafés and other places which end up with a surplus amount of food. The business will donate what food they can, and Foodprint will sell it on at a vastly reduced price at their very own supermarket which is due to open in Sneinton. Their supermarket will be ideal for people who may be uncomfortable with going to food banks, and instead can enjoy a shopping experience without having to count the pennies.

“Ideally we’re looking for food that’s still packaged, past it’s best before date.”

Since the project was originally set up around a year and a half ago, the team have built strong connection with the council, and have managed to gain a substantial amount of funding from various organisations. “We’re very lucky with the amount of funding we’ve had to start us off,” Sam tells me. “We’ve had £8000 from the Uni of Nottingham, £3000 from the Ingenuity 2017 competition, and then we got £5000 from Ford. We also did a crowdfunding campaign with Jumpstart which got £1,300.” That comes to an impressive total of £17,300 which they will use towards the rent for the supermarket, employing a van driver to transport the donated food, and for the general upkeep, employee wages and food supply.

They’ve already had a great response from businesses, including the café at Middle Street Resource Centre in Beeston who donated some leftover bread (and recently offered Sam 130 boxes of eggs which, obviously, he had to turn down at this point), and allotment owners near Beeston Marina are letting them harvest their allotment and take away the produce, because there’s more than he needs. “Everyone’s been so supportive and helping us out so much. It’s exciting, it makes me happy that people are even thinking of us,” says Sam.

The main objective is for Foodprint to secure a strong network with local businesses who can offer them a supply of food which can be sold on. “Ideally we’re looking for food that’s still packaged, past it’s best before date. So many cafés might have cookies that are in packets and for the sake of quality purposes get thrown away,” explains Sam. “Whereas we’ll take them, we’re selling lower quality food but for a cheaper price.”

For example, if you were to go to the Foodprint supermarket, you can expect to find prices such as 40p for a can of beans, and 50p for a bag of pitta bread. They’re also working on future plans to implement a member’s scheme.

“We’ve got partners in Advice Nottingham, a number of social eating events, and social housing organisations,” reveals Sam. “The council work with Age UK where people might be disadvantaged. They’ll have access to a member’s scheme where they can get discounts on their shop, so if they couldn’t afford it they’ll get 50% / 75% off. Our objective is to ensure the food is going to the people that need it most.”

He adds: “We’re trying to bridge the gap between foodbanks and standard supermarkets. You can get caught in a cycle of dependency on food banks, so by giving a cheaper alternative to supermarkets you can work your way back on. You’re getting your choice back, you’re getting fresh food, and there’s no limit on how often you can go.”

Their slogan sums up perfectly what they’re trying to do: Eating for today, thinking of tomorrow. Not only will they save surplus food from being thrown away, they’re offering a more positive alternative to foodbanks for people who can’t afford to put food on the table. The contracts for the physical store have been signed, and by the time this article comes out, the social supermarket should be up and running.

You can increase Beeston’s support of Foodprint by working with the team. They’re always looking for volunteers, and you can contact Sam directly on 07769312531 or visiting the website at www.foodprint.io. The physical store will be located at: 101 Sneinton Road, Nottingham, NG2 4QL.

The best way for this project to reach its maximum potential is through social networking. If you know a business who could donate food, tell them about Foodprint.

JM