A Nottingham charity café is using supermarket waste to provide hot meals for the homeless at cut-down prices.

Granby Kitchen, on Station Street, takes donations of surplus food thrown out by supermarkets to produce wholesome meals for just £2.50 each.

Alongside the affordable food, the cafe operates a pay-it-forward scheme allowing commuters to pay for someone else’s meal who may not be able to afford one on their own.

Owner Wendy Baird began the twice a week scheme after wanting to give back to the homeless community.


Image: The cafe’s ‘pay it forward’ scheme

The pay it forward it scheme operates twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday between 3pm and 6pm and anyone can come in for a free meal.

The meals are all made up of ingredients that are usually thrown away by supermarkets, including food with dented packaging.

IMG_1641Image: This month’s delivery of ingredients, all of which would have been thrown away

Audio: Wendy on the kind of food they receive

Wendy receives a delivery once a month through the charities Super Kitchen and Fare Share Food and devises a menu around that. Dishes include chicken and ham casserole and Jamaican chicken with rice and peas.

The menus are constructed around the monthly delivery that the cafe get and include vegetarian options as well as two choices for pudding.

A sample of the menus available

The food they receive is often still before its use by date and has been thrown away by the supermarkets as a result of a change in packaging or a over-ordering of stock.

Wendy sometimes has a hard time working out why some of the food she receives is destined for the bin.

“Some products come in which are still in date with their packaging still in tact and it shocks me that perfectly good food was heading for the bin,” she said.
Image: Ingredients are often still in use-by date

Wendy has reached out to local branches of supermarkets as well and now recieves food from both Marks and Spencer and Morrisons.

Working alongside several volunteers Wendy spends Tuesday and Thursday cooking meals with the ingredients making all of their dishes from scratch.


Image: Wendy with volunteer Helen choosing ingredients for tonight’s menu



With the UK throwing away around 4.2 million tonnes tonnes of food every year, according to WRAP, several charities around the country are asking the government to make a change.

Wendy feels that although we’ve come a long way there’s still a lot more that can be done.

“The amount of food thrown away by supermarkets in this country is awful, I’d really like to see the UK implement a similar scheme to France. If it does become illegal to throw away such large amount of food a lot more people will be able to benefit.”

Last week French supermarkets became the first in the world to be banned from throwing away unsold food by a new law that requires them to donate it to charities.

The law has been welcomed by food banks and prompted calls for the rest of Europe to follow suit.

It means stores will no longer be allowed to destroy products approaching their best-before date. Instead they will sign donations deals so that unspoiled food can be used by charities.

A petition in the UK to make supermarkets hand over all unsold food to charities and offer adelivery service to the needy has received over 187,000 signatures.