Interview: Andrea Rasca, Executive Dreamer at Mercato Metropolitano - Blog

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Monday 21st January 2019

Nobody likes to see food go to waste. Not only is it environmentally damaging, but it is morally wrong and costs us money. The Government’s latest strategy ‘Our waste, our resources’ makes a strong case for cutting down on food waste – but will 2019 be the year we get serious about sustainable food?

We wanted to speak to organisations already fighting the corner for food waste, so we caught up with Andrea Rasca, Executive Dreamer of Mercato Metropolitano (MM) one of our hospitality customers.

Mercato Metropolitano is a vibrant space in Elephant and Castle, where everyone shares a passion for food and social relationships. The space hosts a variety of small-scale businesses such as food and drink stalls and farmers at their onsite urban garden. A commitment to sustainability is revealed through a variety of workshops, art exhibitions and classes.

‘Society is currently facing a pressing challenge to find a solution to nutritiously feed the growing population, while respecting the environment.’ When asked why food sustainability is so important.

‘…there is an urgent need to reconnect the producer and the consumer, and communities needs to invest in this relationship and rediscover the value of food.’

We wanted to find out what Mercato is doing to reduce food waste production on site.

‘Trading partners who join the Mercato Metropolitano movement support our ethos and mission to operate in a sustainable way. This includes keeping food waste to a minimum -aiming to reduce, reuse and recycle efficiently.’
‘We are working with Paper Round to develop a strong waste strategy based around circular systems. We have completed two internal food waste audits in the last 12 months to better understand what food waste we have and where it is coming from. A next step is to identify specific waste streams trader by trader and improve our recycling rates.’

They have also worked on plenty of initiatives to reduce food waste and raise awareness of food sustainability. Andrea told us about two.

  1. They work with food waste app ‘Too Good to Go’, a platform to help businesses sell surplus food. During the first three months using the app, MM saved 244 meals from the bin – saving 463kg of CO2.
  2. In June 2018 they teamed up with the Small Change, Big Challenge Campaign hosting an event to help Londoners eat better, waste less and recycle everything else.
‘The event engaged with 1000 customers at the market, raising awareness of the campaign, by cooking recipes using the top ten ingredients that are wasted in the UK.’

Finally, we asked what new initiatives they have in the pipeline.

‘We are developing a bakery project which will allow us to mill our own flour from ancient grains to bake our own bread and make pasta and patisserie products. This will service all of our trading partners and customers.
…working with Paper Round we are analysing our waste streams in more detail and exploring new food waste composting systems. We are also reviewing our cooking oils used across the market to improve the sourcing and to ensure all waste cooking oil is efficiently and sustainable recycled.’
‘Every single little action counts and this is the challenge that, first as citizens, we need to face, to create a more equal world.’ 

We are excited to be working with such a forward-thinking organisation, who put food and sustainability at the heart of their business model. We will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for their events and workshops in 2019.

Visit the Mercato Metropolitano website to find out more about their events and vendors.  

Jessica Parrilla

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