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A Danish supermarket called WeFood has launched a revolutionary new idea which may address many ongoing concerns about the way in which food is purchased and, ultimately discarded around the world.
According to a recent study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, over 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost, wasted or discarded every year. That’s over a third of the world’s produce. Most of this waste stems from the current practices in place from retailers, combined with consumer habits, formed over recent years.
Setting aside the financial impracticalities of a system which allows so much waste to occur, the report goes on to set out some startling facts:
The food currently lost or wasted in Latin America could feed 300 million people.
The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people.
The food currently lost in Africa could feed 300 million people.
A sobering prospect.
In Denmark, a country which wastes 772,000 tonnes of food waste per year, one organisation has decided that it’s had enough. A Christian NGO Folkekirkens Nødhjælp launched a startup, in conjunction with a volunteer run store that opened its doors last week. The owners hope to donate their profits to worthwhile charities, as well as the work they do opening people’s eyes to the issues of food waste.
The supermarket sells items at a low cost, approximately 30-50% less than the average retail price. The difference from budget supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi, is that the food (primarily vegetable produce and baked goods) are either expired, or misshapen / imperfect.
“WeFood is the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps the world as it is not just aimed at low-income shoppers but anyone who is concerned about the amount of food waste produced in this country,” said Per Bjerre from Folkekirkens Nødhjælp
The story has generated quite a buzz, with The Independent and IFLScience both reporting on the altruistic elements of the project, whilst even Business Insider has gotten on board to praise the commercial practicalities of the venture.