Dressed all in black, Filip Lundin steps briskly around his kitchen at Söderhallarna to check what deliveries have arrived. He’s a young man, full of enthusiasm, and the Founder of Sopköket – a restaurant that creates meals from surplus food gathered from local supermarkets and manufacturers. The rescued food comes from companies like Paradiset and Saltå Kvarn, and is processed by his team to create a lunch buffet and corporate catering. Filip’s workforce is a handful of chefs who stem from marginalized groups, including migrants and elders, whose cultural backgrounds often supply an innate knowledge for how to take care of ingredients in a creative and environmentally sound way. The daily goal is to incorporate at least 50 percent rescued food into the menu which changes on a weekly basis. So far, the company has donated over 9,000 meals to shelters and other organizations.
When Sopköket first started, it ran its operations from Fryshuset in Husby and rented the underutilized school kitchen. The focus was on catering for corporate events on location and his customers have included H&M, SEB, and Skandia Fastigheter; in addition to events such as Sweden Demo Day and Smaka på Stockholm. Now, with the entire restaurant industry under pressure from coronavirus and declining pedestrian traffic, Sopköket is transforming once more to focus its offering on pre-packaged meals and takeaway.
To offer customers peace of mind and a little extra security, tables have been spaced further apart and a buffet is no longer on offer. The price per meal has also been reduced to just 79 SEK in order to keep a healthy diet as affordable as possible. Group orders can be delivered by electric bicycle courier and any unsold food is donated to those in need. For those under quarantine at home, Filip recommends reaching out to community groups on Facebook, such as Corona Hjälpgrupp Stockholm and Corona – Hjälp till med inköp av livsmedel till riskgrupper! that have grown overnight with the idea of healthy volunteers helping those who are sick or in a high-risk category, by delivering food and groceries.
“Many people are now in difficult times. They might have lost their job or are stranded at home in quarantine. We want to help in these times. By completely changing our concept and fully focusing on takeaway at a reduced cost, we want to enable easy access to sustainable and nutritious food to as many people as possible. At the same time we hope we continue to exist and rescue more surplus food than ever before.” – Filip Lundin, Founder of Sopköket
In his previous life, this young restauranteur was a violinist but after losing some of his hearing at a nightclub, he gave it up and followed his passion to create a business that would give a second life to unnecessary food waste. 2016 saw him awarded “Årets Ungdomsentreprenör” by Fryshuset and in 2017, Filip appeared in the list of Sweden’s most promising business ideas from entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Företagarna. Although not a chef himself, he has always succeeded in rallying the support of talented professionals and volunteers through his caring approach and steadfast authenticity, and his belief in doing good for the benefit of society.
Cathy Xiao Chen is the Head of Operations at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a passion for supporting social impact, she advises and connects changemakers with collaborators to maximize impact.