At the end of a day, many unsold food items such as those from cooked food stalls would be dumped into the trash. This is done according to protocol or for hygiene purposes, even if the food is still suitable for consumption.
The Food Bank Singapore and Compass One mall hope to change this through their new partnership to supply the charity with surplus food, which is then channelled to people in need of it.
In line with the Year Towards Zero Waste, Compass One will be the first mall in Singapore to officially pledge its support for The Food Bank Singapore's Food Wastage Reduction And Fight Hunger Movement. Tenants of the mall in Sengkang will be encouraged to donate excess unsold cooked food they deem suitable to the 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 before being 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 Singapore. The first collaboration, which started last December and is still ongoing, focused mainly on the collection of non-perishable food items such as canned food.
Compass One centre general manager Sharon Tan, 59, said that although there were difficulties in donating perishables in terms of hygiene, it is a cause she is passionate about.
In her opening address at the launch of the initiative yesterday, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, said 760,000 tonnes of food waste were generated last year. This was equivalent to two bowls of rice per person here each day, she added.
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.
Mr Vincent Cheong, 46, who is in charge of corporate communications for foodcourt operator Kopitiam, told The Straits Times that the food stall owners, when approached, were happy to participate in a good cause.
He said dishes from the nasi padang and mixed vegetable rice stalls would be donated.
Donations of fresh food produce to The Food Bank Singapore from shoppers are also encouraged. Collection bins for these food items, as well as for e-waste and second-hand clothes, will be added to the mall.
Last year, The Food Bank Singapore collected a total of 505 tonnes of food from both businesses and individuals.
Dr Khor said: "This is a commendable effort, and I hope that other shopping malls and buildings will be inspired to do the same."