By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Simone Kranendonk
Most people, but especially sustainability minded people are overly aware of the amount of food wasted everyday across the world. Produced, processed, transported and ready-to-cook vegetables, grains, spices and even meat go to waste. Not only in our kitchens, but also through the stores' backdoor. Instead of being paralyzed with this knowledge an exceptional initiative grew into the leading foundation called Instock, targeting all these facets of food waste and showing us how to make great meals with this food.
Instock is a foundation started by young pioneers who shared their frustration and motivation to reduce the foodwaste they witnessed everyday as Albert Heijn (Dutch supermarket chain) employees. Within a year, they grew from a pop-up restaurant to a permanent venue located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a take-away toko and a foodtruck spreading their message on festivals and (food) markets.
Every morning, the Instock 'electric food rescue car' collects surplus or rejected food from six different Albert Heijn supermarkets in Amsterdam. Collecting the harvest of the day at the restaurant, the chefs sort and select the products and create the menu. A different 3-course menu is served every day to the customers for the reasonable price of €22,50 or the day special of €12,50. The restaurant has been fully booked from the start.
Even more special is the internal motivation of the founders of Instock. They are not trying to be noble or aiming to save the world, they just want to save food that otherwise would go to waste. The social entrepreneurial character and sizzling vibe at Instock restaurant softens the hipster image. These young people saw a problem and acted on it, making it a working social entrepreneurial initiative.
The catering market has been booming the past years, with people going out for dinner regularly. The catering industry plays, next to the supermarkets, a big part of the problem of food waste. Instock thus makes a twofold contribution by offering customers the chance to rescue food from going to waste from the supermarket and not letting their leftovers go to total waste when eating out, as the products are already reused. The booming business in restaurants and the wish of many customers to act positively towards sustainability makes the concept of Instock work perfectly. As a result, Instock is a completely self-sustaining foundation, reinvesting profit into new projects against food waste.
Food waste seems to be one of the main problematic habits in the more developed world which is a great challenge. Instock is a concept applicable in different cultural context around the world, which allows all of us pioneers to put the phrase 'think globally – act locally' successfully into action and rescue some food!