Worldwide, one third of food produced is wasted and, in Malaysia, 3,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown away each day. Thankfully, The Lost Food Project has swooped in to save surplus food from being taken to landfills and, instead, redirects it to charities and people in need.
Since its inception in 2015 — with the aim of eliminating hunger in Malaysia — the food bank has made quite an impact. It has rescued 564,467kg of surplus food from 12 food donors, delivered food to 48 charities and 7,510 families living in public low-cost housing, and prevented 1,110,488kg of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
With this in mind, it is no surprise that managing director of Hugo Boss South East Asia Ptd Ltd Steven Lam decided that The Lost Food Project was the perfect beneficiary of their new campaign. “It was brought to my attention that The Lost Food Project is not only the pioneer food bank in Malaysia helping the less fortunate and bridging the hunger gap, but it is combating food waste by rescuing ‘lost food’ that would have otherwise ended up in the landfills. It is amazing! I was told that so many supermarkets and manufacturers were needlessly sending good food to landfills, while charities were spending what little they had to buy food, or seek sponsorship to feed the vulnerable,” he explains.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have taken a toll on the F&B industry all over the world, not least Malaysia. Lam feels that it is important to give back to the community as a whole, not just to organisations like The Lost Food Project but also to food-related businesses. “During this difficult time, many businesses in general were not able to sustain [themselves] and ended up closing down, resulting in many losing their jobs. Many were struggling to buy food for their families, especially those facing severe poverty. This, in effect, has contributed to the substantial increase in the demand for food. We brainstormed and figured that while we are all in the same boat trying to navigate through this difficult situation, what better way but to work together to come out of this stronger and to also give back to the less fortunate and care for the community when we are able to?”
To help the community and local F&B businesses, Boss has launched the #BossTogetherMY campaign, a series of monthly gastronomical collaborations with F&B partners. Between August and December, Boss will work with locally owned restaurants to serve a specially curated menu. Ten per cent of the proceeds goes to The Lost Food Project.
Lam adds, “We hope this initiative would give [The Lost Food Project] a platform or the opportunity to raise awareness or to bring about change within Malaysia and address the devastating environmental consequences of food overproduction and waste as well.”
Each month, Boss will partner with a different F&B business, beginning with De.Wan 1958 by Chef Wan from Aug 15 until Sept 16. Perfectly timed for Merdeka, the menu features five courses of authentic Malaysian dishes, including Rendang Daging Rusa (Malay), Live Seabass with Superior sauce (Chinese) and Udang Kari Masala (Indian). Guests may enjoy this special menu at the restaurant or have it delivered to their homes at RM398++ for three to four pax. A three-course meal — available for takeaway or delivery only — is available at RM129++ per person.
With every purchase of the Boss x De.Wan menu, customers will receive a MY Unity three-level tiffin. “I have to give it to Chef Wan, who came up with this brilliant idea. We wanted to create something unique and exciting. We wanted to tell a meaningful story, something that would really resonate with everyone,” says Lam.
Adorning the tiffin are illustrations by Penang artist Tiffany Choong. “The illustrations celebrate the diverse and colourful Malaysian flora and fauna. The Malayan tiger has been illustrated specifically by the artist in the hope of creating awareness for the protection and future survival of this critically endangered species,” he adds. Customers will also receive a RM100 Boss voucher.
The other F&B outlets that are participating in the #BossTogetherMY campaign are Siti Li (October), Madam Kwan’s (November) and a surprise bakery (December). The restaurants will also have fun additions. “There will be different and very unique curations from each F&B partner to look forward to. Siti Li has amazing kuih, Madam Kwan’s has a special cookbook recipe to share with every purchase and, last but not least, look out for the special surprise from the mystery bakery,” says Lam.
After Singapore, Malaysia is the second country to carry out the #BossTogether campaign, and Lam hopes to continue this initiative in neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia and Cambodia. “Food is essential and we know that it is ultimately what brings us all together. The decision to support local F&B businesses really stems from the fact that many of them were suffering from the pandemic and we can do our little part with this initiative, not just to support our F&B partners alone but also to support a greater cause, which is the community in general,” he explains. Eating out (or ordering in) never felt so good.
This article first appeared on Aug 10, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.