A YOUNG couple have survived for a month living on free fruit and food saved from the bin.
Paul and Sophie Collins took on the challenge to highlight the scale of waste in Britain, where the average family throws out the equivalent of a meal a day at a cost of £750 a year.
The vegan food bloggers picked up garden fruit that was on offer outside houses in their home city Cambridge.
They asked family and friends to donate unwanted supplies and used sharing apps such as Olio, saving a total of £200 by cutting out shopping.
Paul, 28, said: ‘There is so much food going to waste every day, yet so many people have to suffer from hunger.
‘The biggest collection we did was 12 kilograms of marrow.
‘We also asked families to look in their cupboards for what they won’t have used for years. We ended up with this big haul of food and lived off it. It is amazing how much you can find.’
Of all the food produced worldwide each year, about a third — 1.3billion tonnes — gets wasted, says the UN’s food and agriculture organisation.
But in Britain alone 8.4million people struggle to afford meals.
Sophie, 28, said eating for free proved tough to begin with.
‘For the first week, we struggled getting enough to eat and it was hard to put a proper meal together,’ she said.
‘But then we started to find ways to access more of the food being wasted.’
The couple visited the Cambridge Community Fridge, which offers food collected from supermarkets that would otherwise be thrown away.
Paul added: ‘The Olio app is really good. If you have bought something for a party and there is leftovers you can put it on the app.’
The pair, whose blog Vegan on Board describes foraging expeditions in their campervan, invited supporters to sponsor them for the challenge.
The couple now plan to hit their target of £1,000 for food bank charities by hosting a fundraising feast for friends and supporters. Sophie said: ‘It would be nice to reach the target and we have plenty of food left over.’
Paul added: ‘The challenge has made us more creative. We now know so many great ways to use stale bread — French toast, breaded mushrooms, garlic croutons — that we will never throw it away again.’