Denmark opens 1st food waste supermarket
Denmark is said to throw away huge amounts of food every year, but it has just taken a major step towards alleviating the problem. Its first social supermarket with surplus food is now open to customers.
Hundreds of people visited the new store since its grand opening that took place in Copenhagen on Monday. The new store, called WeFood, will be selling a variety of products that would otherwise end up in the trash because of damaged packaging or because they are past their expiry dates. The prices are 30 percent to 50 percent lower than those in regular shops.
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The store was officially inaugurated by Denmark’s Princess Marie and the minister for food and environment.
"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," Per Bjerre, the leader of the project, said at the opening.
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The Danish food minister also praised the initiative.
"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," Eva Kjer Hansen said.
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A local NGO called Folkekirkens Nodhjaelp (DanChurch Aid) has been in charge of the project. The project has been running for over a year and “came to life” with the help of crowdfunding, during which the NGO managed to gather over 1 million kroner ($147,570, or €134,010). DanChurch Aid had to overcome a number of legislative obstacles and justify the selling food with expired dates, before it was allowed to implement the project.
The store is to be managed by volunteers and the profits are said to be spent on the NGO’s projects aimed at helping people in developing countries.
Denmark is not the only country which has decided to combat the problem of food leftovers. Just recently France passed a legislation that prohibited throwing away of food and obliged supermarkets to donate it to charities and food banks.