In an interview with Delo Dalibor Matijević, the founder of the social enterprise Robin Food announced that after the very successful store in Maribor, the first Robin Food store in Ljubljana will soon be opening. The store is going to sell leftover food and other household products at up to a 90% discount. This will help to slowly, but surely break the prejudices against food surpluses.
At the social enterprise Robin Food, founded two years ago by Matijević, they are trying to leave as little food as possible in waste. The story started with an application to promote the sales and donation of food stocks before their expiry date, and now the project has gone far beyond these initial goals. The founder and the manager of Robin Food opened a shop in Maribor in July 2017, in which products with an upcoming expiry date are sold at a discount, and now three such stores are planned in Ljubljana.
The first one, for which he has already found a suitable space, is expected to be “somewhere in Šiška” in the second half of October. In addition to food that is close to its expiry date or has slightly damaged packaging, while still being tasty and healthy, other household products will be available, added Matijević. There will be up to 500 different items on the shelves, as well as a shopping cart for purchasing products without packaging (such as toothpaste), and customers will also be able to put food from large containers into their own reusable packaging.
Matijević adds that the citizens of Maribor welcomed the stores, and not only those who struggled to pay the full price elsewhere there, but also others who simply wanted to prevent food being wasted. According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, in 2013, 150 tonnes of food or 72 kilograms per capita, were discarded.
While unofficial data suggests that in the recent years these figures are slowly declining, there is still too much food thrown in the rubbish. Matijević has partnered with some companies that either donate or sell products at a very low cost so that items which would otherwise be discarded are used, from which the company even cooks meals in its own kitchens and then delivers with electric cars to customers’ homes.
Recently, the Robin Food Bistro has been opened at 20 Resljeva street in Ljubljana, where you can order things such as smoothies, sandwiches, cakes, wraps, soups and so on for one-third of the usual price. The dishes are made from ingredients that would be otherwise thrown out. Robin Food works to process the surplus food in ways that generate as little waste as possible. The coffee shop also offers many Slovenian brands, such as Kolektiv 22 coffee and Knap beer.
The interiour of Robin Food Bistro. Source: Facebook
They deliver food all around Ljubljana on bikes, and you can even order a daily or weekly box of goodies.The meals are high quality and delicious, but cost significantly less than those delivered by other firms, explains Dalibor. With it’s zero waste initiative Robin Food is not just a coffee shop, but rather a movement, a reminder of how we can lower our food waste with just a little effort and make a better future for us all.
Pear pie in Robin Food. Source: Facebook
As Robin Food’s founders say, their goal is “to help people in need with the use of surplus foods that would otherwise end up being wasted.” Of course, in addition to foods from supermarkets and other retailers, this also refers to that which goes uneaten in restaurants around Slovenia. Since there are many NGOs and other organizations that would like to offer this to their workers, volunteers or the homeless, Matijević and his colleagues intend to connect these groups and establish a delivery system to provide meals to people living in poverty.
You can learn more about the project here.