The Grapevine

Denmark's WeFood Supermarket Only Sells Food Past Its Expiration Date; Hopes To Curb Unnecessary Food Waste

food
Thousands of tons of food are wasted every year. Pixabay Public Domain

While so much of the globe still struggles with starvation and malnutrition, food waste remains a main point of contention for many when considering the massive food industries in developed countries. Denmark just took a huge step to eliminate waste, however, with the opening of a supermarket selling surplus food that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.

A supermarket called WeFood opened Monday in Copenhagen, and the store will be selling only food that's past its sell-by date — a date that doesn’t indicate food safety but rather food quality, according to Consumer Reports. WeFood will take advantage of expired but still-safe foods by offering them at prices up to 50 percent lower than any other grocery store in Copenhagen.

“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, of the non-governmental organization behind the store, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, according to the Independent. “Many people see this is a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue.”

The Danish food minister Eva Kjer Hansen added: “It’s ridiculous that food is just thrown out or goes to waste. It is bad for the environment and it is money spent on absolutely nothing. A supermarket like WeFood makes so much sense and is an important step in the battle to combat food waste.”

A 2013 study found that 91 percent of people admit to throwing away food because of the sell-by date. Even though experts say the best way to determine if a food has gone bad is simply to sniff it, food waste continues to be a problem. Denmark throws away over 700,000 tonnes of food every year, according to The Local. Even that is an improvement, though, since the country has cut its food waste by 25 percent over the last five years. WeFood is seen as another important step for the nation.

“The new supermarket with surplus food is a good start in the fight against food and resource waste,” Hansen said. “But there are still barriers and rules that do nothing for food safety but make it difficult to give surplus food away.”

The WeFood shop is run by volunteers, and the profits go toward the NGO behind its existence, and its work in the world’s poorest countries. The charity says that if the first WeFood shop is successful, it would open more of them in other cities around Denmark.

Loading...