Not being satisfied with the range of images I managed to capture during my first visit to Waitrose Islington, the management team kindly allowed me to come along a second time – to once again capture the handing over of ‘surplus’ food from Waitrose to the FoodCycle LSE volunteers.

Inevitably the same scenario was played out – busy supermarket, no space to move in any direction, and so a limited diversity of images were captured. At the very least they added to diversity of images I had, and I just had to be satisfied with that.

Ironically the two occasions when I had the opportunity to photograph the donation of ‘surplus’ food, were occasions when very little food was given – far less than the first time I had been. The items included in the donation were also of less use to the volunteers in their need to cook a 3-course meal for up to 50 people – loaves of sliced bread, cranberry juice, fromage frais and the likes.

According to the Waitrose website, ‘in 2012 Waitrose achieved it’s aim to divert all food waste from landfill. Unavoidable food waste that is not fit for consumption is processed by anaerobic digestion to generate energy. Waitrose was the first national retailer to use anaerobic digestion as a viable solution for food waste. Surplus food that is fit for consumption is donated to local charities.‘ (my italics). This sounds all very positive, but I question whether 100% of ‘surplus’ food fit for consumption is donated.

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Chris King
I'm a documentary and portrait photographer and multimedia producer from Northern Ireland, but currently based in London. With the Food Is... website and my exploration of the issue of avoidable food waste, I have a desire to create positive change in whatever way I can, and to whatever degree I can. You can see more of my work at chriskingphotography.com