We at Froodly are looking to help change the way we think about Food Waste, so we can’t help but sit back and admire how Denmark has changed its course and reduced food waste by 25% over the past five years. The important lesson that can be seen in Denmark’s case is that the consumers have a huge amount of power, and the ability to tackle the problem of food waste lies in the hands of everyday shoppers like you and I. Although the Danish government has set targets to reduce food waste and has put it on the political agenda, it’s been the ability of organizations like Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop Wasting Food), a consumer food waste movement started by Selina Juul, to educate consumers about how much food they’re wasting, and how they can reduce that number that’s been the push that the Danish consumers needed to take a stand against food waste.
Buying Expiring and Discounted Products
In an initiative to solve the problem of supermarket food waste, Denmark now has the highest proportion of supermarket chains focusing on food waste in the EU, and has seen a change in the way that consumers are treating near-expiring food as a result. The Local DK, a Danish news station, reported that there has been a trend of increasing demand for food products nearing their expiry date that are sold at a discount, and that these products have been “flying off the shelves” at the largest supermarkets in the country. Part of this change may be attributed to the fact that many consumers are realizing that almost all food products are good for a certain period after the labelled dates on foods, like the ‘best by’ or ‘sell by’ dates. For example, a chunk of cheddar cheese may be just fine to eat for 1-2 months after the printed date on the package, despite what many consumers think about the dates. For individual product information on how long foods are good to eat after their expiration date, check out Eat By Date.
Without the proper knowledge of how bad the food waste problem is, many consumers aren’t aware enough to take actions to minimize their waste. There have been great steps recently that have raised the awareness of the problem, from John Oliver’s funny yet sad talk on Food Waste, to the various petitions like Tristram Stuart’s campaign to end food waste on Avaaz, which has over a million signatures and is still growing. In Denmark, the work that organizations like Selina Juul’s Stop Spild Af Mad have gotten the message through to consumers all over the country (and of course internationally) through various campaigns, and has been a driving force behind their reduction in food waste. After all, consumers can’t take action if they haven’t identified the problem, and it will take a continued cooperative effort between parties from the government right down to the consumer to get the word out to consumers around the world about how they can help solve the problem.
It’s been great to see how the Danes have taken the lead in the fight against food waste, but it now lies in the hands of others in countries around the world to keep the momentum going against food waste. It’s the consumers who will need to take a stand and work together to stop the problem if we want to be successful in stopping the problem internationally.