Open Kitchen has been working with local businesses for the last six years to save food destined for landfill.
The organisation’s usual MO is to use that produce for its catering company, which cooks up food for corporate and social events, with any profits used to subsidise community projects with vulnerable people.
However, like many hospitality businesses, Open Kitchen has had to adapt under lockdown.
“Food waste started to go through the roof and the number of people who needed our help rocketed,” founder Corin Bell tells euronews. “So the team decided to pitch in and just start cooking.
“Four weeks in and we’re producing 11,000 meals a week to support vulnerable people.”
Repurposing the airlines meals was a bigger task than they’re used to, and required the help of a local logistics company who loaned an industrial-size freezer for the job.
In the UK alone, more than 10 per cent of carbon emissions come from “perfectly edible food going to waste,” says Bell.
She warns against inexperienced people repurposing food, however, even if they are trying to help.
“If food waste isn’t handled safely by people with commercial food handling or prep experience, it could put an already-vulnerable person at risk of food poisoning,” she says.
Bell advises supporting existing local food waste projects instead.
During the coronavirus pandemic The Independent has partnered with The Felix Project for its Help The Hungry appeal.
The campaign, which launched on Friday 27 March, has raised more than £3m in a month for The Felix Project, the biggest supplier of free food in London.
The project has been operating 12 hours a day, six days a week, distributing surplus food to giant community hubs, including Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Haringey, as well as to 80 charities and schools across the capital.