Café puts food donations to good use

7th August 2017

A local supermarket has teamed up with a nearby café to tackle food waste and support the community by donating kilos of fruit and vegetables to the business.

Cakes, soups and pasta dishes are just some of the treats created for customers at The Hot Chocolate Lounge in Denaby using ingredients donated regularly by Co-op store manager Chris Cliff.

The produce is also used to create dishes for the café’s bistro nights and provide meals and refreshments for local people who need them.

Chris, who runs the Swinton Co-op store on Station Road, and Libby Carl, supervisor at The Hot Chocolate Lounge, are both keen to raise awareness of Best Before dates and food storage methods so people can reduce waste and make the most of the food they buy.

According to Chris, customers can both spend and waste less by shopping little and often, planning their meals and always writing a shopping list. He also recommends investing in gadgets such as soup makers if possible to use up leftover produce and create nutritious, low-cost meals.

“We do see a lot of waste generally in this country because we want `quality’ products but just because a piece of fruit is marked or green, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it,” he explained. “There are all sorts of reasons we can’t sell food after a particular date or time, usually because of legislation, but it shouldn’t end up landfill and that’s one of the reasons I make donations to The Hot Chocolate Lounge.

“It’s all about education,” continued Chris. “If food is properly stored or frozen it can last well beyond its Best Before date but people don’t always realise that. The best way to store cheese for example is in tin foil and it can also be grated and frozen to last longer and then used for simple home-cooked meals. You don’t have to be great in the kitchen but, with a bit of imagination, making nice meals is easier than people think. If customers want any food storage or cooking tips, they’re very welcome to ask!”

Libby and her colleagues use the Co-op food donations in a range of dishes at The Hot Chocolate Lounge in Grays Court which is open Monday to Friday. The business is a training café and community hub run by Doncaster West Development Trust and funded by the Big Lottery. It provides opportunities for training, volunteering and social activities as well as serving a wide choice of breakfasts, light meals, cakes and refreshments.