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London Pop-Up Transforms Discarded Produce Into Sustainable Meals

By Maria Cook

Food waste doesn't only happen in America. In England, people throw out around 15 million tons of food per year. Some of that waste is the fault of individual consumers. For example, estimates suggest that the food individuals in England throw out each year is equal to about one in every five bags of groceries bought. But even more waste is generated by companies who toss out truckloads of otherwise perfectly edible food for a variety of reasons. 

To help curb the waste and promote awareness, one London company, Rubies in the Rubble, has created a pop up eatery in London's famous Selfriges Food Hall. Until June 30th, guests can enjoy a variety of creative sandwiches made from foods which would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.  

What is Rubies in the Rubble?

Rubies in the Rubble is a British food company dedicated to reducing food waste. The company began when home cook Jenny Costa noticed how much good food was being tossed out at London stores and markets, due simply to aesthetic imperfections. Perfectly edible produce, from berries to cucumbers, were being wasted simply due to scratches or because the fruits and veggies were oddly shapes. Other times, grocery stores had simply ordered more food than they could sell by the time it expired, and thus most of it had to be tossed out.

In a city like London, where homelessness and hunger are big problems, Jenny found it unacceptable that so much food was going to waste. Using family recipes which had been passed down to her, she set out to do something about it. Rubies in the Rubble was founded when Jenny began selling the sauces and jams she had made using excess (but perfectly unspoiled and edible) produce. These days, Rubies in the Rubble works directly with farmers and grocers, buying up their excess produce before it can head to a landfill. The company specializes in sauces, relishes, and ketchups made from this discarded produce.