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Scholars of Sustenance: Making The Best Use of Leftover Food

Updated: Jun 4

The habit of throwing away or leaving food uneaten is still often found in Indonesia. However, if that leftover food is processed properly, it can help many people and go a long way to helping food security.


There are indeed many ways to process food waste. One of them is what Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) does. This international non-profit environmental organization is committed to eradicating food waste and saving food security throughout the region, with footprints in three countries, namely Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.


Scholars of Sustenance is a food rescue foundation which aims to collect surplus food and distribute it to people or community members who need it.


Did You Know?


We actually produce enough food and sustenance for the equivalent of 10 billion people, but there only 8 billion people living on this planet, while at the same time, there are 1 billion people still food deprived and hungry every day.


Food waste from food that is ready to consume and provide balanced nutrition is often simply thrown away. Food waste is the biggest contributor to waste, especially in Indonesia.


Indonesia was named the country with the 2nd largest food waste in the world by FAO Indonesia 2016 and The Economist Intelligence Unit 2016. Data also shows that 13 million tons of food is wasted in Indonesia. The average reaches 184 kg of food waste per person per annum. A large contribution to food waste comes from hotels, restaurants, catering, supermarkets, and households.


The National Food Agency (NFA) reported that Indonesia suffered a loss of US$ 36.6 billion or the equivalent of IDR 551 trillion (exchange rate of IDR 15,064 per US$) due to leftover food or food loss and waste consumed by the public. These losses are accumulated from the period 2000 to 2019.


Arief Prasetyo Adi, Head of the National Food Agency, said that leftover food collected from every plate of Indonesian people produces 23 to 48 million tons of food waste per year. This food waste should be able to support 61 to 125 million people or the same as 29% to 47% of Indonesia's population.


Each country plays an important role in reducing the level of waste of food consumed by its citizens. This is because around 14% of total global food production experiences shrinkage (food loss).


Apart from that, as much as 17% of food is wasted due to food waste behaviour.

How SOS handles Food Surplus


SOS has so far managed to save a staggering 8.3 million tonnes of surplus food, equivalent to feed almost 35 million people. Additionally, SOS has had a significant impact on communities throughout Southeast Asia.


The main focus of SOS Indonesia is to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from various sources. This includes partnering with hotels, supermarkets, bakeries, farms, and manufacturers to retrieve surplus food that might otherwise go to waste. They utilize a range of transportation methods, including motor-cycle pickups and refrigerated trucks, to efficiently gather and distribute the collected food.


With an total of six years of operations in Indonesia, SOS has consistently diverted food from landfills in Bali to uplift vulnerable communities, most especially during the pandemic. Now, with the organization expanding to Jakarta, SOS increases the reach and effect of positive change in the country's food system.

SOS food rescue foundation is serving three things: The Land, The People, and The Spirit. They are not only helping people, but also helping the communities while being environmentally conscious in their work.

SOS Programs includes:


· Food Rescue

· Rescue Kitchen Program

· Jumat Berkah Program

· Care Packaging


 We recommend that anyone making or selling food commercially in Jakarta or Bali contact them for a consultation to see how best they can work together to save vulnerable communities.



Jl. Danau Tamblingan No.53, Sanur, Kec.

Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80228



Jl. Benda Raya No.14A, Cilandak Tim., Ps.

Minggu, Kota Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta


Tel: (+62) 877 - 7182 - 4370

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