SINGAPORE - At the end of a day, many unsold food items such as those from cooked food stalls would be dumped into the trash. Although perfectly suitable for consumption, the food would still be thrown away due to protocol or hygiene purposes.
The Food Bank Singapore's new partnership with Compass One mall, however, aims to change this. The Food Bank strives to bridge the gap in the market by collecting surplus food in the market and providing it to organisations and people in need of food.
In line with this year's Year Towards Zero Waste, Compass One will be the first mall in Singapore to officially pledge its support for The Food Bank's Food Wastage Reduction & Fight Hunger Movement. Tenants of the mall at Sengkang will be encouraged to donate excess unsold cooked food to the organisation's food rescue programme.
At the end of each day, the donated cooked food will either be distributed to beneficiaries, or stored in temperature-controlled warehouses to ensure that the food remains hygienic for consumption and distributed the next day.
More than 300 charity organisations and beneficiaries in Singapore, including the Singapore Red Cross, Family Service Centres, senior activity centres and soup kitchens, will receive the food. This is the mall's second collaboration with The Food Bank. The first collaboration, which started in December 2018 and is still ongoing, focuses mainly on the collection of non-perishable food items. This is the first time that Compass One has pledged to donate perishables.
Compass One centre general manager Sharon Tan, 59, said that although there were difficulties in donating perishables in terms of hygiene, it was a cause she is passionate about. In her opening address at the launch of the initiative on Monday (April 15), Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, said that, in 2018, 760,000 tonnes of food waste was generated. This was equivalent to two bowls of rice per person here each day, she added.
The food rescue programme first started with a pilot two weeks ago, and starts officially on Monday. Among the mall tenants, popular brands such as Kopitiam, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Soup Restaurant, Ichiban Sushi and Hong Kong Sheng Kee Pau will be supporting the initiative.
Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Vincent Cheong, 46, a representative for Kopitiam, said that when approached, the food stall owners were happy to participate in the effort, knowing that it was for a good cause.
Shoppers will also be encouraged to donate excess fresh food produce such as cakes, pastries, vegetables, meat and dairy products to The Food Bank. Collection bins for these food items, as well as for e-waste and second-hand clothes, will be placed in the mall.
Added Dr Khor: "This is a commendable effort, and I hope that other shopping malls and buildings will be inspired to do the same."