Food waste is a great problem all over the world. And Denmark is the number one example in food waste reduction.
According to official data, Danes have reduced their food waste by 25% since 2012.
During these years many things have changed for the better: new food waste reductions initiatives and startups started appearing on a regular basis. Local influencers and awareness campaigns encourage the fight against food excess and have created food waste supermarkets, food waste cooking schools and many more great changes that positively affect society’s behavior and habits. In short, the world has a role model.
How did the Danes do it?
A strong leader
In fact, everything started because of Selina Juul. This woman emigrated from Russia during her teenager years and was astonished with the amount of food waste in Denmark. Selina launched a group called “Stop Wasting Food” and persuaded the country`s biggest low-cost supermarket chain, Rema 1000, to replace all its quantity discounts with single item discounts. The supermarket chain ended up by reducing 90% of its banana waste.
A trendy deal
Let’s admit, in today’s world where healthy lifestyle and green choices receive the biggest number of likes on Instagram, food waste reduction partly is a matter of a long-term trend.
The Danish Princess Marie is not an exception. She participated in the grand opening of WeFood, a grocery store in Copenhagen that sells expired food to the general public. In Denmark, as long as expired food is clearly labeled and shows no sign of a health risk, it’s legal to sell.
Even though it has this contemporary aspect of going with the flow, it is still a positive action.
Their size makes it quick
Denmark is a small country and it is quite easy to spread a message about food waste or initiate any related campaign. For this reason, anyone in the country who is aware about food waste is able to share a personal opinion about the matter. That is what make the campaign so effective and fast.
Danes are economical
The cost of living in Denmark is relatively high, accordingly the food prices are expensive too. It’s also an important reason why the movement against food waste is so popular. People are likely to waste less when something costs a lot. Even Denmark’s design and architecture are created to last.
Since food prices are high, Danes prefer eating at home. So, people do know how to cook basic meals at least. It also helps to reduce food waste: people count when they buy.
Fridges are small
Have you ever seen an American type two door fridge in any Hollywood movie? Well, it is not a case in Denmark. Usually, fridges are small, so people shop in smaller quantities on a daily basis. It also helps to save food since it is easy to keep the track of leftovers.
The local government is also interested in reducing food waste. The government ensured a subsidy of US $750,000 that has been distributed to projects trying to tackle waste throughout the food chain, from production to consumption.
Sure, what works in Denmark is not necessarily suitable for other countries. However, it is an extraordinary example of how a great change can be implemented to deliver positive outcomes.