In the past five years, Denmark has become one of the leading European countries in the fight against food waste. According to The Independent The Danish Government credits these figures to one woman, Selina Juul.
Juul moved from Russia to Denmark when she was 13 years old. She told the BBC that she was shocked at the amount of food waste produced by supermarkets. “I come from a country where there were food shortages,” she said “We had the collapse of infrastructure, communism collapsed, we were not sure we could get food on the table.”
Juul created “Stop Spild Af Mad”, which translates to “Stop Wasting Food” to try and change the way that Danes bought and stored their food. She convinced the country’s largest low-cost supermarket chain, Rema 1000, to replace large quantity discount items with single items, in order to minimise food waste.
This initiative was coupled with a recent move by the Danish charity, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp who opened the country’s first ever food surplus supermarket last year, called “WeFood”. The supermarket sells products at prices 30 to 50 per cent cheaper than usual retailers and uses excess products from supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste.
These initiatives could be adopted in Australia and New Zealand, as we need to address the issues of our own food waste problems. According to the World Resources Institute, Australian supermarkets waste four million tonnes of perfectly good food a year. Meanwhile, Australian consumers throw out the equivalent of one shopping bag per week full of food.
In New Zealand, an audit of rubbish bins in 2015 found that households were wasting $563 each, totally $872 million a year.