Imagine a supermarket that only sells food with expiration dates that have passed. In the cereal aisle, the boxes could be somewhat smashed. As for the fruits and vegetables, I won’t even try to describe their unappealing appearance.
So why go there? You will save a lot of money and also help our planet waste less.
Where We Waste Less
Last February, with a Danish princess proclaiming her approval of the surplus food concept, WeFood opened in Copenhagen. Although the prices at the WeFood supermarket in Copenhagen are 30 to 50 percent less, they tried not to be called a place for the poor. Instead, because an environmental cachet was a part of the message, their clientele was varied.
Meanwhile the EU has pledged to cut food waste by 25 percent by 2025 and France has gone even farther. At the beginning of this year, the French parliament said it was against the law for supermarkets to destroy unsold edible food and large restaurants had to provide “un doggy bag” for leftovers to diners who request one. But Denmark seems to have made the most progress. Whereas their quest for ultra healthy eating habits led to more discarded food, more recently they’ve cut waste by 25 percent to 35 pounds a person per year.
Our Bottom Line: The Cost of Food Waste
Primarily from fruits and vegetables, the 141 trillion calories a year that the U.S. discarded in 2010 was nutrition from which no one will ever benefit. For the world, one-third of all food is destined for the garbage.
Looking back at production, picture the land, labor and capital, the fresh water, the fertilizer and the transportation inputs that are wasted by discarding a lettuce. Looking forward, we have the impact of the garbage on the environment if it winds up in a landfill or of the dollars it might require to be recycled. Perceived as dollars, from “harvest to consumer,” the value of the food we wasted in 2010 was approximately $161.6 billion.
I wonder if the EU, France and Denmark can make less waste as trendy as fresh food?