As one of the world’s most famed culinary capitals, Hong Kong is home to thousands of restaurants. Between our 87 Michelin-starred restaurants, exquisite upscale dining, traditional Chinese eateries, trendy pop-up cafes, and glorious hole-in-the-wall joints, Hong Kong is a city that loves to eat. The dark side of our foodie-crazed world is that our gluttonous city also has a bad rap for being wasteful. You can smell it in our sewage system and you are certainly inhaling it through the emissions from our (cough cough) polluted urban climate. Save for some of the larger restaurants who donate unused food to charity, there are thousands of restaurants throwing away food mindlessly. The +852’s newest food ordering platform, Food Savior, is serious about doing something about it.
Determined to reduce food waste using a simple concept, Food Savior is an online platform that pairs restaurants with patrons, allowing the latter to purchase food for less. Restaurants will list dishes on the Food Savior platform that they have left over from each service. Once your preferred meal has been chosen and paid for, the restaurant will show you your designated timeframe for pickup. The surplus food is sold at a discount of up to 50% off. You win. The restaurant wins. The planet has less food that will end up in landfills.
“Food waste has always bothered me,” says journalist and Food Savior co-creator Liz Thomas. “The past few years have felt quite bleak in terms of world affairs and the three of us [her and co-creators Adrien Hay and Florent Sollier] knew if we wanted the world to change, then we needed to actively do something about it.”
Noticing how much people loved the discount corner at the supermarket, Thomas, Hay and Sollier felt there was a correlation with restaurants in a bid to reduce waste: what if they could highlight last-minute deals or special offers to patrons and avoid having the perfectly good food sent to landfills? Food Savior was born out of this discussion. The platform is essentially a digital version of the supermarket discount corner.
“It connects customers with restaurants who have a surplus of excellent food left at the end of service, and are happy to sell it at bargain prices,” says Hay. “Restaurants can also list deals or offers during quiet periods to help ensure nothing is thrown away.”
According to statistics by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department, 3,400 tons of food are sent to landfills every single day. To put that in perspective, think of it as 220 double-decker buses (filled with food) per day. Yikes indeed! Going right up the food chain, supermarkets will dispose of 29 tons of edible food each day and wet markets will waste 14 tons every day. We are hemorrhaging food at such an alarming rate that all three of Hong Kong’s landfills will be full by 2020! International award-winning author, speaker and Food Waste campaigner Tristram Stuart did a fascinating TED talk on the global food waste scandal (it’s been viewed over a million times) that is worth a watch if you want to delve deeper into the issue.
“We want to get people to think differently about throwing out food and about our consumption culture,” explains Sollier of Food Savior’s mission. “The aim is to get the whole industry to see that there is an opportunity – for them to make money on surplus food, and to do their bit for making Hong Kong a cleaner, greener place to live.”
Partnering with popular restaurants and fan favorites like SpiceBox Organics, Cali-Mex and La Cabane Wine Cellar, there are currently about 30 restaurants participating on Food Savior’s platform with many more signing up each week. The newest collaboration? Sheung Wan weekend brunch staple 208 Duecento Otto, which has come up with an enticing offer: they will package a box full of all the extra salads they have for HKD 25 that you can collect between 3PM and 5PM. Looking to expand beyond their restaurant repertoire, Food Savior is hoping to get supermarkets and caterers to come on board in the future. It’s time to curb the amount of food waste in Hong Kong!
Food and restaurants that you see on the site each day will vary depending on what is available. Food Savior operates in real time – restaurants will update as the day progresses – when they know they might have extra food available. To eat, save and protect our planet, visit Food Savior here and check out their Facebook for more information.
Images courtesy of Pexels.