The Beat Asia Tries Eating Food Waste for 1 Week: Here's What We Found Out
September 27, 2022
Coupled with Hong Kong’s ever-changing food and beverage scene, innovative with varied culinary offerings and competing restaurants, lies a dark truth about our dirty consumption and waste.
The average Hong Konger is responsible for dumping up to 71 kilograms of uneaten food scraps a year, with the city’s landfill management becoming an alienable issue unable to keep up with growing waste. According to the Environmental Protection Department, food waste is the largest contributor to municipal solid waste in the city.
Co-founded by Chris Wettling and Carla Martinesi, food rescue app CHOMP aims to use technology to attack Hong Kong’s food waste problem found in the city’s food and beverage business.
Launching in August 2021 and available on Apple and Android phones, CHOMP mobile app allows users to “rescue” food at discounted price, whilst helping owners and food producers clear excess supply and save food from being disposed of.
Download the app and you can choose from a wide range of CHOMP’s partner cafés, restaurants, and food producers with registered pick-up times to collect your breakfast, lunch, or dinner Mystery Boxes, unsold goodies or excess food ready to eat!
To explore what CHOMP can do for Hong Kong, I decided to use the app for one week, ordering a Mystery Box each day to reduce my personal food waste. Here’s how our week went.
Day one: Tofu avocado caulirice box + salad (HK$86) @ Kale
Using CHOMP is easy and accessible with more than 85 vendors to collect Mystery Boxes or select items across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and New Territories. Working in the office neighbourhood of Sheung Wan, CHOMP hosts a range of quick, healthy, vegetable-focused lunch options to snack on, including healthy café Kale in Central.
After I downloaded the CHOMP app, I was directed to all cafés, restaurants, bakeries, and supermarkets that had products available to purchase at 11 in the morning. As lunch time swung around, more vendors have items ready to sell, with Kale offering their yummy tofu avocado caulirice box to food-saving Hong Kongers. It was clean and fresh, leaving me energised throughout the rest of the day.
I paid through the app, which sent a confirmation to myself and Kale that my order was being processed. I took a brisk walk down the restaurant on Li Yuen West Street to collect my box and returned to my office to indulge in my mean green meal. Yummy!
Day two: Fresh green salad and fruit cup (HK$80) @ Gustaci Food Gallery
The team at CHOMP work with a varied range of food and beverage vendors in the city, including the city’s newest, hottest groceries and food producers such as PMQ’s Gustaci Food Gallery.
Opened in early August, Gustaci stocks a wealth of luxurious Italian meats, seafoods, pantry goods, and three special CHOMP offers for quick lunches. With a need to be healthy, I decided to pick up the second Mystery Box out of three, a leafy green salad with a simple olive oil dressing and a fruit cup to order too.
The real benefit of CHOMP is how expedient it can be to order, pick up, and chomp down your meal. I was pleasantly surprised with the ease in which I could select what I wanted for lunch as the time neared 1 PM. Plus, the fruit cup was very fresh, and the green salad tasted as if it was pruned from a nearby garden earlier in the week!
Day three: Premium signature salad (HK$85) @ Saladstop!
I was personally looking for an excuse to travel the lengthy distance from my office in Sheung Wan to Exchange Square in downtown Central to snack on CHOMP’s green partner, Saladstop!; now I could!
With options to purchase a premium salad or wrap, customised to your preferences and dietary requirements, Saladstop! is a great choice for those working in and around Central seeking a very healthy meal bursting with flavour.
Using CHOMP to effortlessly order my lunch at the office before making my way to a restaurant is quick and easy.
Day four: Punjabi chickpea rice bowl and masala chai (HK$103) @ Bengal Brothers
My hunger and need to rescue more food brought me east of my home and workplace to Wan Chai, where I found one of CHOMP’s newest vendor additions, Bengal Brothers, selling two Mystery Boxes and one chai and Parle-G biscuit combo all day to patrons and CHOMP customers.
I received the delectable Punjabi chickpea curry paired with turmeric rice, pickled beetroot, and cucumber raita, as soon as I selected the meal and paid for it through the CHOMP app.
Day five: Assorted bread basket (HK$45) @ St. Lolan Bakery
On the final day of my week eating food waste ordered through the CHOMP app, I feel happy about contributing to saving food that would otherwise be thrown away in my neighbourhood. The food was fresh, tasted great, and was among hundreds of options with CHOMP’s growing list of vendors, most of them fan favourites with Hong Kong foodies!
The bread basket tasted supreme and sweet, with three salty cream-filled coconut bun and three sugar doughnuts paired too! Even sweeter was ordering St. Lolan’s excess bread that was set to be thrown away at the end of the day, after being baked earlier in the afternoon and not ordered by customers.
The intricacies of Hong Kong’s food waste problem are manifold and won’t be solved overnight. However, using CHOMP to reduce excess supply from being thrown out each night is the beginning to tackle this issue.
From downloading the app and creating an account to selecting with ease a restaurant to purchase a Mystery Box and collecting it in seconds, CHOMP makes it easier for you to aid support for F&B businesses in Hong Kong and rescue food waste, one meal at a time!
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