A Danish supermarket has become a huge success, opening a second branch, despite its unusual business model.
Wefood in Copenhagen only sells expired food, picking up on the current hot topic of food waste.
Expired Food Sales
The Copenhagen supermarket is now a chain, with two branches in Amager and Norrebro. The second branch opened to a long queue of customers eager to check out this new prospect.
“It’s awesome that instead of throwing things out they are choosing to sell it for money. You support a good cause,” said Signe Skovgaard Sørensen, a student who was interviewed on the launch day.
It is legal to sell expired food in Denmark, so long as the public are made clearly aware that the expiry date has passed and there is no danger from consuming it immediately.
“We look, we smell, we feel the product and see if it’s still consumable,” project leader Bassel Hmeidan said.
The products are donated by local supermarkets, producers, importers and exporters, and those with chef jobs at local restaurants. The staff in the shop are all volunteers, and the profits made are donated to charity. It’s a movement totally dedicated to improving food waste rates, with no aim to make money. The products on sale generally go for around half their normal retail prices.
Food Waste Solidarity
Around the world, movements supporting the reduction of food waste having been popping up in their droves over the last few years. Their rate appears to be increasing, as more and more people catch on to the possibilities of solidarity.
A new law in France means that supermarkets are not allowed to destroy food which has not been sold. Cafes and restaurants around the world are opening with the aim of only serving dishes made with ingredients which would have been thrown away. There are multiple apps in use where you can swap or sell food items which are unwanted or about to expire.
And The Real Junk Food Project have recently opened a food waste supermarket in Leeds – a first for the UK.
The UK project allows customers to pay whatever they feel is the right value for their produce, with more of an intention to feed those who are unable to purchase food at higher prices.
A UN panel has also been looking into the problem. They have suggested that the need for fresh produce to have perfect dimensions and colours is causing massive food waste. The use of best before labels which are largely arbitrary is also an issue. If these two problems were removed, the UN panel suggests that the food waste could be used instead to feed the world’s hungry.
It is a growing problem, and one that is being addressed none too soon. Current figures suggest that we waste 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year around the world, which would be enough to feed another 1 billion people who are suffering from hunger and even starvation. Those figures are according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
It is clear that those who are in food jobs should be at the forefront of this battle to remove waste. If you are looking for work and need more qualifications on your CV, you can consider volunteering some of your time to a food waste program. Even if you don’t like in Copenhagen or Leeds, there are plenty of smaller initiatives springing up around the UK. These programs could be the future of food solidarity, helping communities to keep each other afloat in the hardest of times.