An unique restaurant where the Chef starts the day by asking “So, what do we have today?” Conventional restaurants would have a menu first and decide on the ingredients later. The idea behind the name ‘Instock’ is being creative with what you have ‘in stock’. Instock is trying to address the issue of food wastage, something we as citizens of affluent societies often ignore.
Our FrontCover spoke to Freke Van Nimwegen, one of the founders of this unique concept. It all started with four young energetic minds coming together with a unique idea. All of them had one thing in common.
“They love food and hate to waste it”
Their idea was twofold : To raise awareness around food waste and to create something tasty from the unsold products of the supermarkets.
What is the idea behind Instock?
Instock wants to reduce food waste and create awareness about this topic. Even though most of us know that almost one third of our food is wasted, we hardly take any action to prevent it. Our mission is to make people aware of what we have and how we should value it.
A study by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) shows that worldwide 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted on an annual basis. The Dutch consumer wastes about 47 kilos of food each year, amounting to 2.5 billion euros. Wasting food is not only about the price of the products but also about the tremendous energy that is spent in packaging , transporting, preparing..which sometimes go unnoticed.
What were the challenges that you faced initially?
Initially one of the biggest challenges was logistics –how to transport all the raw materials to the respective places to make good use of it. Now we have an electric van so that transporting is done in a sustainable and flexible way.
We also have our Instock truck which is used in food events! An old Mercedes Benz firefighting truck has been converted to an Instock truck.
What ingredients do you use and where do they come from ?
Our ‘food rescuers’ collect products from Albert Heijn stores every morning from all over Netherlands because they can’t be sold anymore. This becomes our “harvest of the day”. Based on the ‘harvest’, our chefs start their creative thinking process on what to make! Hence, instead of having a permanent menu card, we have a chalk board to write our menu for the day.
We do not use ingredients that are unfit for consumption. We use food that are thrown away because of small imperfections. For e.g. one-day-old bread; a sack with only one rotten orange in it; a discolored cauliflower or meat which is too close to the expiry date to send it to the supermarkets.
We get our fruits, vegetables and bread from Albert Heijn Supermarkets in Amsterdam. We pick it up with our electric van. Meat is delivered by Hilton Meats B.V.; a meat packaging company that delivers to Albert Heijn. Their surplus is for example the result of disappointing sales. E.g. rain can cause decreasing meat sales during the BBQ season. We at Instock never choose to use meat from Albert Heijn stores but we go back into the supply chain where meat is the freshest and they have a surplus.
We buy our fish from Jan van As; a large fish shop in Amsterdam. They collect cutting waste for us throughout the week. Heineken supports us with beer and other drinks. Their products can be wasted due to several reasons; expiration date is too short to supply their clients, damaged packaging or leftovers from events and festivals.
Most of the chocolate we use comes from Tony Chocolony; our neighbors at the Westergasterrein. We e.g. get their product samples or limited edition chocolate bars from Valentine or Sinterklaas. Our final source of surplus is damaged packaging from the Albert Heijn distribution centre. They collect all the products that fall during the process of pick ordering, once a week these products are delivered to our restaurant. All our sources help us to make surprising and delicious dishes. However, we do sometimes make the choice to buy some products, such as olive oil, butter, spices or milk. We from Instock aim that our meals always consist of 80% to 100% waste.
Being self sustainable is our target. Apart from the restaurants we have, we are now trying to expand our Instock products which are also based on the same concept of waste reduction.
We have started with a beer, “Pieper Bier”. It is special because it is made from waste potatoes and is brewed locally. Netherlands is a potato loving country but we waste about 340 million kilos of potatoes every year either due to over production or high quality standards. We can prevent waste of these potatoes by not only using them in our restaurants but also brewing it into tasty beer!
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Written byDayeeta Roy
Dayeeta Roy is a Physicist by profession and writer/blogger by passion. She loves to cook and travel. She has two published books based on her blogs. "Family, friends, food and fun--I have everything" is her strong belief. You can connect with her at www.dayeetasworld.blogspot.nl