It is estimated that around 15 million tonnes of perfectly edible food is thrown away each year in the UK alone. When so many people across the country are going hungry, this really is quite a difficult fact to comprehend. In the heart of Manchester, an establishment is looking to make a difference…

The Real Junk Food Project is a not-for-profit model that intercepts and uses food that would otherwise be thrown away. Founded in Leeds, the project has gone on to host successful pop-ups across the country. With a focus on providing nutritious meals to those who might not be able to afford it, their eateries operate with a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ policy.

The Manchester branch has been running since 2014 and has now found a home at 85 Oxford Street with the unique eatery opening its doors to anyone and everyone through a soft launch taking place from Tuesday 5th September. With an admirable ethos, it is no surprise that volunteer electricians, plumbers and artists were quick to answer the call and get the 40-cover restaurant space looking spick and span for its opening. Sticking to the sustainable spirit, much of the restaurant’s furniture has also been upcycled.

As a beautifully hand-illustrated mural on the wall espouses, the project wants to ‘feed bellies, not bins’. Commenting on this very real problem of discarded (yet usable) produce in the UK, director Corin Bell sets out a mission statement – “While there is food being wasted, we’ll do our best to use it”.

Five days a week, Real Junk Food Manchester will provide a constantly changing breakfast and lunch menu with meals entirely composed of ingredients that were set to be wasted. Experienced chefs will transform the food that was destined for dumping into healthy, hearty recipes for all to enjoy. Ethical coffee, provided by local firm Second City, is also available on the street level seating area.

Here at Stephenson’s, we are happy to be supplying such a great cause and implore you to go down and take a look. Opening times will be 12-3pm, Tuesday – Friday for the first week (5-8th Sep), with extended operating hours due to follow shortly. Real Junk Food Manchester is open to the public, with those attending merely asked to pay what they can afford. For more information on this terrific project, please visit www.realjunkfoodmanchester.co.uk.