The mounting epidemic of global food waste is finally facing an adversary: WeFood supermarket in Copenhagen, Denmark. WeFood is Denmark’s first surplus store for expired food. What would have once been thrown in the trashcan, is now filling the shelves and crates in this popular and progressive grocery. The store is garnering attention from politicians and residence who are intrigued by the stores mission and low prices.
The concept is simple, but the benefits are varied and complex. Take undesired food from farms and local grocery stores, discount the price and sell it to costumers. The food that is sold at WeFood is not rotten or spoiled. More accurately, the goods may have ripped or mislabeled packaging; have been sitting on the bakery shelf since last week; or be nearing their expiration date. It is for these three reasons, that WeFood is able to keep there prices 50% lower than competing grocery stores in the area.
Are people really willing to buy damaged/almost expired goods for a discounted price? The proof is in the pudding. Not only are low-come families shopping there, but environmentalists are flocking to the store to pick up day old bread. In fact, according to WeFood, since there opening February, people have been lining the sidewalk before the doors open each morning.
Why is food waste such a problem? Locally, the expense of it is enormous for the cities that have to pay for the man power and transportation of that un eaten food. Billions of dollars are throw away transporting food waste, building new landfills, and replenishing discarded food. Globally, the impacts on the environment surpass the importance of the expense. Over harvesting and depletion of the soil are direct consequence of over farming due to an excess demand for food, but not an excess consumption of it.
Perhaps it is time that America stops and takes stock of their contribution to the global food crisis. Roughly 30-40% of the food supply in American is wasted each year. Shockingly, the United States will annually spend 1 billion dollars disposing of discarded food. This food waste will end up in land fills and produce methane, as it decomposes, which is extremely harmful for the atmosphere.
Even if it takes years for stores like WeFood to be found in local stripe malls, the conversations that the company is creating both locally and globally is well worth the attention.