While 800 million people suffer from hunger, a third of the food that produced in the world, about 1.3 million tons, is wasted. In Europe, 100,000 tons of food end up each year in landfills, and when decomposed they emit almost as much CO2 gas as all the fossil fuels in Spain. Denmark is no exception: in 2014 the government found that each household wasted 105 kg of food each year, the equivalent of most families’ monthly food expenditure. However, the country has set out to tackle the problem and in the last 5 years waste has been reduced by 25%, and the BBC recounts how it has been achieved.

The main change has occurred in consumer habits, for which multiple initiatives have been launched from civil society and the private sector. Most of this activity dates back to 2008, when Russian-born graphic designer Selina Juul started the Stop Spild Af Mad (“Stop wasting food”) through social networks, scandalized by the discarding of food for sale due to its external appearance. After the awareness work and media coverage achieved, Juul was contacted by the Rema 1000 supermarket chain, which reduced the size of its bread and pastry products, as well as the price, upon detecting that they sold them in sizes much larger than what was really needed. by consumers. Other supermarkets like Lidl followed suit, and stopped launching offers that made people buy perishable products in amounts they didn’t need. In the hospitality sector, hundreds of restaurants have subscribed to the Too Good to Go app, which allows the public to order by closing time, at greatly reduced prices, prepared food that would otherwise probably end up in the trash. This type of private initiative continued to be combined with the action of NGOs to collect food banks for low-income families.

Notably, in 2016 the first two stores of the supermarket chain WeFood were opened in Copenhagen, which is characterized for selling food that other supermarkets have discarded, or products that have their expiration date close to or have exceeded it, with a discount of between 30% and 70%. The initiative has been highly successful, but consumer awareness among the general public may leave WeFood without enough supplies to fill its shelves. According to Juul, traditional supermarkets are increasingly able to offer fewer products close to the expiration date. And restaurants in apps like Too Good to Go have to leave more and more orders without being able to attend.