- New York-based chef Dan Barber will run wasteED London, a pop-up restaurant, from Feb. 24 to April 2 to raise awareness of food waste, as reported by Bloomberg.
- In an interview with Bloomberg, Barber explained that he is hoping to broaden the definition of food waste. "What we are doing is a new way of looking at farming — eating the entirety of the farm in the same way that we have nose-to-tail eating of the animal," he said.
- Barber first opened a wastED pop-up restaurant in New York in 2015 which served dishes made from bruised vegetables, fish heads and stale bread. The London pop-up is expected to have a similar menu, and the experience will be highlighted by surprise guest appearances from chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Tom Kerridge and Clare Smyth.
The idea of starting a "food waste" restaurant, pop-up or menu is not new, as many metropolitan-area businesses have now capitalized on the sustainable — or even "trendy" — concept. A group called the Salvage Supperclub has even taken to hosting food waste dinners in cleaned out dumpsters to raise awareness. However bringing high-profile celebrities into the mix can have a major awareness effect on its own, as was seen with a Recycle Across America campaign in April 2016.
The biggest problem with the wastED pop-up is that it seems to promote the idea that reducing food waste and living sustainably come at a high price. While studies have shown that consumers are willing to spend more in order to be sustainable, a "£32 high tea" — one of the wastED menu items — is not an accurate representation of how much it costs to cook with food scraps. In fact, the average consumer will likely save money by converting food "waste" into edible dishes, which is not being exemplified in this awareness effort.
In order for the industry to bring more food waste awareness to consumers, leaders will need to pursue efforts that are both attention-grabbing and realistic for consumers to implement into their day-to-day lives.