Our story

Since launching from Alicia Weston’s kitchen in 2014, Bags of Taste has grown to become an award-winning authority on food poverty, has taught 7,000 students and delivered 48,000 meals

In the Beginning: Bags of Ideas

When Alicia Weston decided to embark on a change of career, she set up the award-winning Parkholme Supper Club – one of London’s first – as a fundraiser for Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF), cooking spectacular world food on a tight budget and serving it to her guests as a fine dining experience.

As the supper club’s popularity and income for MSF grew, Alicia recognised that her talent for sourcing cheap ingredients to create delicious and healthy dishes was something she could share with others, particularly people in her East London community living on a low income.

Having run cooking lessons at the homeless charity Crisis, Alicia knew that lessons alone didn’t  guarantee long-term dietary change, and designed a new type of cooking course that uses behavioural science to inspire and sustain lasting results.  

Bags of Taste was officially established in August 2014 after two successful pilots.

Class Meal

Grow Bags!

  • Our first community cookery course was delivered in Hackney in 2014 by two staff and reached 15 people. 
  • By 2017, we were operating in eight locations, launching programmes in Hastings and as far as Sheffield. By the end of 2018, we’d delivered 92 courses and supported 764 students living in food poverty 
  • We have grown steadily and today we’re supporting around 1,500 people a year in multiple locations.  Our team is still growing, but our team of 13 part-time and just 1 full-time staff, supported by more than 200 engaged and dedicated volunteers make a bigger and bigger impact each year. 

Since our launch in 2014, Bags of Taste has become a leading authority on food poverty and health inequality. Alicia regularly lectures both medical and masters students and she was also on the Economics and Population Segmentation steering committee for the National Food Strategy.

Bags of recognition: Our awards

Founder Alicia Weston was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Honours List 2019 for ‘making a significant difference’ with her Bags of Taste work. 

We won the UK’s Food & Drink Federations’s ‘Community Partner of the Year’ 2019 award and the global .ORG 2019 Impact Award for innovation. 

We were also runners up in the Observer Food Monthly 2017 and 2019 Best Ethical Food Project

Delivering Bags

Bags of Data: Our Results

With the onset of  the COVID19 pandemic  in 2020, we recreated our courses, replacing face-to-face courses with Mentored Home Cooking Courses.

We’ve had fantastic feedback, students have found the new courses hugely accessible, inclusive and flexible.  

A taste of our statistics: We have helped 7,000 people and provided 48,000 meals