The new Food Sharing Hub, in Edinburgh’s Bread Street, will stock surplus produce from supermarkets that is still good to eat but would otherwise be thrown in the bin.
The outlet is being run by the SHRUB Co-op charity, which has been operating a successful food-sharing scheme in the city for the past five years.
It will operate on a membership basis, allowing access to food at affordable prices. Customers will be able to buy at a “pay as you feel” rate.
New figures have revealed that one in ten Scots is living in food poverty, where they can’t afford a healthy diet. Meanwhile, a total of 1.35 million tonnes of food and drink ends up binned each year across Scotland.
Research by SHRUB Co-op shows around 27 tonnes of food goes to waste every week in central Edinburgh alone – roughly 54,000 meals.
The charity is working with Tesco, Co-op and Lidl, picking up supplies from five local supermarkets to stock the Food Sharing Hub.
Each morning volunteers collect perishables such as fruit, vegetables and bread, as well as canned and dry fare that is due to be binned.
This includes items that are past their best before date, but not past their use-by date.
The charity hopes to make food available to anyone who wants or needs it, regardless of their income.
“The Food Sharing Hub is a fantastic idea,” said Shweta Naik, one of the first customers signed up to the new shop.
“I’m delighted that it’s opening and look forward to seeing it grow. It is actively addressing and promoting a subject which is very close to my heart. I feel very strongly about food waste.
“I’m delighted that the businesses who are donating food are large corporates who are beginning to take responsibility for their food waste.
“I look forward to being able to buy food not only at a cheaper price but also saving it from landfill.”
The scheme is supported by £300,000 of government funding from Zero Waste Scotland.
Laurie King, Food Sharing Hub co-ordinator, said the new shop is “the next level” for the successful Food Sharing Edinburgh initiative.
She said: “We are following in the footsteps of very successful projects such as the Share House in Leeds and Wefood in Copenhagen.
“Food Sharing Edinburgh has achieved so much over the last five years and would not exist without its amazing team of volunteers. We’re so excited to expand and begin collecting from supermarkets.”
Ylva Haglund, food waste campaigns manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said the scheme is a great way to use food instead of binning it.
She added: “Every year, 1.35 million tonnes of food waste is generated in Scotland at a massive cost to our economy and our environment.
“The Hub will be a real asset to the local community, not just in making sure that food finds a home but in giving practical support to people to help them waste less food in their own lives.”