Copenhagen, Denmark, witnessed the inauguration of a new supermarket this week which sells the products no other store would sell.
WeFood sells products either which have neared their expiration dates, had been wrongly labeled, or had damaged packaging. The products include food, cosmetics, and household items that other stores had rejected, but are still legal to sell and safe to consume. They cost 30 to 50 percent cheaper than regular supermarkets product.
The store was officially inaugurated by Denmark’s Princess Marie and the minister for food and environment.
Per Bjerre from the NGO behind the market, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, said the following.
“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. Many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue.”
A joint project from Fødevarebanken, or “The Food Bank,” a Danish nonprofit that give surplus produce to the homeless, and DanChurchAid, a religious charity working to eradicate poverty, HIV/AIDS and hunger, the store’s proceeds will go to DanChurchAid’s work in developing nations like South Sudan and Bangladesh.
Eva Kjer Hansen, the Danish minister for food and environment, said the following.
“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.”
Food waste is a major problem faced by the whole world. The European Union pledged to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025. If the steep discounts the supermarket is dangling succeed in making ugly and expired food in something people buy, the model could serve as an example onto developed countries throughout the region, and even the world.
According to the World Food Program, around 795 million people are undernourished globally. Yet about one third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted each year, according to the United Nations. The cost of global food wastage is about $1 trillion dollars a year, the U.N. says.
Wefood has a deal with Føtex (one of the biggest supermarket chains in Denmark) for bread and other products reported the Independent. It also has agreements with importers of citrus fruits, butchers, and a producer of organic fruit and nut bars.
WeFood’s open-to-everyone policy is similar to that of Daily Table, another surplus food retailer, which launched last year in Boston reportd the NPR.
There is a lot of misconceptions in many countries as what the expiration date mean. The Agriculture Department in the United States, for example, says that the dates printed on food products typically help stores decide how long to put the product on sale or tell buyers the product’s peak time of consumption. The dates usually don’t denote when food goes bad.
There have been a few examples in Europe where companies and countries are taking positive steps to battle food waste. British retailer Marks & Spencer pledged to donate food that is to expire soon to people in need last year, with an aim to reduce its own food waste by 20 percent by 2020. France too passed a law earlier this month banning large food vendors from destroying food nearing its expiration date.
WeFood store has already been a huge success with people in Denmark, who line up before the store’s opening every morning since its launch on Monday. If its success continues the store plans to open branches across the country.
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]