St Andrews students have recently begun a food saving and sharing initiative in town, whereby groups will distribute free food outside of the Main Library on Thursday and Sunday nights, reducing food waste from local restaurants This distribution is part of an initiative taken by fourth year students Mikhail Barabanov and Vero Berg.
Foodsharing originated from Germany, where participating shops and supermarkets gather leftover food and leave it to members of the Foodsharing initiative who then take the gathered food and distribute it among friends and fridges in the area.
Mr Barabanov and Ms Berg were interested in bringing this initiative to St Andrews, so they inquired with businesses around town, including Pret-a-Manger, to see if they would be willing to donate leftover food.
According to them, Pret-a-Manger was keen to participateas they aim towards becoming a more environmentally friendly business.
Their Sustainability Strategy reads, “At Pret, we take a strategic approach to reduce our impact on the environment and to have a positive effect on the communities in which we work.”
Thus, Pret-a-Manger’s participation in the food sharing initiative furthers their goals and helps them to become more environmentally efficient. Both Mr Barabanov and Ms Berg vocalised their support for Pret-a-Manger’s efforts against food waste.
Ms Berg told The Saint, “Pret donates what they haven’t sold at the end of the day, thus do something really admirable, get a super image, and at the same time don’t lose customers– just have a look inside during lunch time, it’s always packed. And we get to play a tiny, but nevertheless important part in the whole food-waste issue and hopefully make people more aware of how much food is thrown away every single day.”
On their thoughts regarding the importance of bringing the food sharing initiative to St Andrews, Ms Berg said, “We thought it would be a shame to participate in the massive food waste that happens every day in every single shop, restaurant and supermarket.”
Mr Barabanov and Ms Berg pick up the donated food every Thursday and Sunday from Pret-a-Manger or other businesses that have signed on to the initiative. They usually have between two and five large carrier bags of donated goods. They try to ensure that the homeless people around St Andrews have primary access to the food.
They are trying to establish the food sharing initiative properly in St Andrews as both of them are graduating this year, yet they feel it is of great significance to have in St Andrews. Ms Berg commented that it is easy for students in halls to set up a food saving initiative and furthers that food sharing is not related to the halls’ initiative to save food.
She said, “I absolutely encourage [setting up a food saving initiative]. Too much food is thrown away every day, but as neither Mikhail nor I will be here after August, it would probably be best for people from halls interested in participating in a food saving initiative to get involved.”
According to the Food Standards Agency, the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from homes every year, costing the average UK household £470 a year. Additionally, they state that the UK manufacturing and retail sector wastes 1.9 million tonnes of food and drink a year, 1.1 million tonnes being avoidable.