The restaurant that rescues surplus food

Katarzyna Czop News

After working in the restaurant industry for several years, Erik and Ellinor Lindblom decided it was time to start their own restaurant, but with a very special purpose – to rescue surplus food. The result was Restaurant “SPILL” (which is the Swedish word for waste), which turns perfectly good food into delicious lunches in Malmö’s Västra Hamnen neighborhood.

Erik and Ellinor were first inspired to find a solution to food waste when they witnessed how much good quality food was being thrown away by suppliers before ever even making it to a kitchen. They decided to prove that you can base a business on “food waste”, serving food made mainly from raw materials which would otherwise be discarded. The restaurant buys good quality food “waste” from wholesalers, adapting their own menu quickly to what is available that day. They often serve vegetarian dishes, but meat and fish can also be on the menu, as even these expensive ingredients end up as waste. The result is a creative, delicious meal, which can be brought for the same price as any other meal bought in Malmö.

According to SPILL, fresh and edible food is being wasted as a result of the business model needed to meet our high expectations and food culture, which has become disconnected from seasonality and local availability. Restaurants (and their customers) have become accustomed to the same menu year round, and being able to source any ingredient they need at very short notice – expecting to be able to order food produced on the other side of the world at 11 in the evening and have it delivered at 6 in the morning. This means suppliers to restaurants need to be overstocked, in order to meet any possible demands.

Thanks to SPILL, a large amount of food is being rescued from landfill (on the day that this article was written, the share of wasted food in the dish was 99% – find out today’s share on their website). However, the best solution would be to end food waste at the source, and SPILL’s goal is to close in 5 years in the hope that their work and other initiatives to highlight food waste and change consumption patterns will eradicate their own source of cheap surplus ingredients.  

The example of SPILL raises an important question for public buyers of food – is there anything in your own procurement demands which is resulting in food waste in the supply chain?

The partners from Circular PP visited the restaurant during a partner meeting in Malmö – read all about it here.