In an attempt to combat the nation’s food wastage problem, Denmark has opened the world’s very first supermarket that sells expired or damaged products. Ever since the grand opening in Copenhagen last Monday, people have been lining up outside WeFood for a chance to purchase discounted items that would otherwise have ended up in the trash because of damaged packaging or very short use-by dates. Food, cosmetics, and other household items at WeFood are priced at least 30 to 50 percent lower than at regular stores.
“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 wastage produced in the country,” said project head Per Bjerre. “Many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue.” The grand inauguration was attended by Denmark’s Princess Marie, and former minister for food and environment, Eva Kjer Hansen.
“It’s ridiculous that food is just thrown out or goes to waste,” said Hansen, who was full of praise for the initiative. “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.”
While Denmark alone is estimated to waste about 700,000 tons of food every year, the United Nations has stated that globally, food waste amounts to a whopping 1.3 billion tons. These are shocking figures, considering the fact that about 795 million people in the world are undernourished, according to the World Food Program. Denmark, however, has adopted several measures to clean up its act, wasting 25% less food than it did five years ago. One such initiative is The Food Bank, a local nonprofit that distributes surplus food to homeless shelters.
The WeFood project is a collaboration between The Food Bank and religious charity DanChurch Aid. Together they raised over 1 million kroner (nearly $150,000) over the past year, through crowdfunding. They also had to face many legislative obstacles while convincing the government to permit the sale of expired food. They were finally allowed to implement the project, and the store is now run exclusively by volunteers. Profits are used to fund DanChurch Aid’s other projects in developing nations like South Sudan and Bangladesh.
Provided WeFood’s remains popular in the long term and if it is able to maintain its food deliveries, DanChurch Aid plans to open multiple branches across Denmark.