Saving Perfectly Edible Food and Giving it to Those Who Need It
Pasar Grub, established in 2019, is a social market dedicated to rescuing fresh produce that is still edible and making surplus produce easily accessible and affordable to everyone. It was formerly an initiative under Grub Cycle. Pasar Grub has now grown and became a registered entity on its own.
“We are raising awareness of food waste by making surplus food accessible to buy at a bargain price. Food waste is a huge problem in Malaysia. Our food waste can fill up KLCC Towers in 18 days. Imagine that the amount of food wasted by Malaysians per day can be used to feed three meals to 2.2 million people,” said Andrew Dana, co-owner of Pasar Grub.
There are initiatives being taken around the world, including in our country, to address the important issue of wasting edible food. For instance, hotels and restaurants are charging customers for leftovers exceeding a certain minimal weight during buffets. This is a good way to educate diners to be more conscious of food wastage and stop themselves from piling excessive amounts of food on their plates.
How It Started
Pasar Grub is a social supermarket created to reduce food wastage. There are a lot of edible fruits and vegetables being thrown away daily and yet eating healthy in Malaysia is very expensive. The social enterprise channels surplus to communities in need, while raising awareness on food wastage and its effects on the environment and community, and the dangers of hidden hunger.
It has a project based model and partners with organisations to carry out corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects to channel edible food to the B40 communities.
“We believe that no one should go hungry in the world of plenty, and we work towards channeling surplus to communities in need. Good food that is still good should not go to waste. We make produce available to B40 communities at 40% cheaper than the supermarkets. Anything that has turned into waste will be composted or sent to farms to be composted,” said Andrew.
“However, we face challenges in trying to promote a circular economy and educating the general public on food waste prevention. We focus on the food chain - from farm to community,” he added.
Pasar Grub is a part of the Pemangkin Usahawan Sosial Hebat (PUSH) programme, and supported by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC). PUSH is a scale-up programme with an ambition to grow social enterprises and increase their social impact through a personalised capacity building and skills development training.
Before the PUSH programme, Pasar Grub only operated in one location, which is PPR Lembang Subang. The social enterprise hired only one makcik to help run the operations there.
After the PUSH programme, Pasar Grub started in eight new locations and hired eight new makciks to help run the stores. At the same time, it is saving more edible food and impacting more B40 communities. PUSH also helped to connect Pasar Grub to more NGOs that needed nutritious food to give to the B40 communities.
Since it started operations in 2017, it has distributed over 21,000 kg of produce, and impacted 3,600 families and welfare organisations, especially during the pandemic. It has also collaborated with AIA Malaysia, DHL, Alliance Bank, MUDA and more. It has also received support from international audiences and sponsors from Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany.
How You Can Help
As an organisation that fights food waste, Pasar Grub advocates zero hunger and protecting the environment.
“We hope that you will recycle or repurpose your food waste and reduce unnecessary stock up during your grocery shopping to prevent wastage,” said Andrew.
“We also have the Support a Makcik Programme. With every RM10 donated, we will give a Grug Bag 2.0 full of fresh produce to a deserving makcik and her family from the B40 communities,” he added.
In addition, the social enterprise would like to call on the public to support its initiatives by sharing its stories and collaborating on projects.
“We also welcome volunteers. Every volunteer experience creates a little impact regardless of where you come from. By volunteering with Pasar Grub, you will be helping families back on their feet and giving produce a second life. Duties can range from selling, picking up food items, packing, redistributing or even creating a new project together. Throughout the volunteering journey with Pasar Grub, you would be able to have the opportunity to work with different communities in CSR projects,” said co-owner, Lye Kok Shiuh.
Pasar Grub would also like to invite beneficiaries, suppliers and organisation to collaborate on future projects. It also welcomes sponsorship and supports pay-it-forward initiatives. In the near future, it would like to expand edible food collection to F&B businesses and online marketplaces.