Food that cannot be sold by wholesalers is available at reduced prices in the Too Good To Go shop in Copenhagen. Photo: Too Good To Go
Food losses: More than two billion tons per year in 2030
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND SAVE FOOD
If food waste were a country, its CO2 emissions would be right behind those of the USA and China. According to a 2018 report by the Boston Consulting Group, global food waste will increase by a third to more than two billion tons per yearby the year 2030unless counter measures are taken.
LOST FOOD IN NUMBERS
In Germany alone, food that is thrown away causes 38 million tons of greenhouse gases. The equivalent in agricultural space used to produce the food that is then thrown away is more than 40,000 square kilometres. In comparison, the Netherlands have a total area of around 42,000 square kilometres. In addition, this food requires around 216 million cubic metres of water, which is about as much as the city of Berlin uses in one year.
Great Britain’s Waste & Resources Action Programme assumes that British private households are responsible for around half of the total food waste on the island. From a financial point of view, this means an annual average loss of 470 British pounds (approx. 550 Euros) for every household.
On average, British consumers waste food worth around 470 British pounds (approx. 550 Euros). Photo: Evieanna Santiago on Unsplash
Numerous initiatives combat food waste. Among these, the SAVE FOOD initiative (www.save-food.org) by FAO, UN Environment and Messe Düsseldorf has the objective of raising public awareness for this topic globally and developing counter strategies and solutions in cooperation with economy, politics and society.
In Denmark, various initiatives by non-government organisation „Stop Spild Af Mad“ (stop wasting food) –one of the very first SAVE FOOD members– helped lower food waste by approx. 25 percent since 2010. Founder Selina Juul’s tireless commitment not only gathered an enormous group of supporter on Facebook, she also distributed 80,000 goody bags throughout the country and made sure that supermarkets now give discounts on individual goods instead of reducing prices for large amounts. One example are individual bananas, which are advertised using the slogan “Take me home, I’m single.” This reduced daily waste of bananas in supermarkets by 90%.
Danish supermarkets have Stop Food Waste areas where they offer food that no longer looks attractive or will expire soon at a cheaper price. Even single bananas find a home. Photo: Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
Recycling and health
And modern communication technology also helps us to dam food waste. The Too Good To Go app, which is used in several countries, displays the names and addresses of restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets in which customers can purchase food at reduced prices.
Denmark is also home to the very first Too Good To Go store. The doers behind the first shop in Copenhagen offer food from wholesalers who do not have their own business premises. According to Too Good To Go, 40 percent of food in Europe is thrown away at a very early stage in the value chain, before it even reaches retailers. This means that numerous foods are lost before consumers even have a chance to purchase them.
This has various reasons: Lacking logistics or insufficient inspections and lack of compliance to storage requirements, retail demands on sell-by dates that are too high as well as goods that have been labelled wrongly, to name a few. Innovative packaging sensors such as the dynamic sell-by date FreshIndex ensure that goods can be tracked at any time via an app. This in turn means that food storage and sales can be monitored in a targeted manner, thus preventing losses.
Sensor systems and temperature loggers can seamlessly trace the condition of food, allowing quick reactions to possible damages. Photo: Tsenso