Blog by Selina Juul, Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark

Create growth by reducing food waste

4,3 billion Danish kroner a year is the amount that the food sector can earn by converting food waste into growth.

The recent year’s food revolution, the green consumer trends such as reducing food waste, packing and also meat-free days, is becoming mainstream and should become a permanent part of the food sector. The food revolution conceals new market segments and thereby a larger turnover.

The agriculture, industry and retail should consider three large and growing tendencies, which are booming on the Danish consumer arena. All three can be converted into new market types, attract new customer segments – and thereby increase the turnover in the end.

Give your customers easy access to the fight against food waste

The fight against food waste is no longer an activist underground movement and on the eighth year it continues to produce headlines. Nothing indicates that this is simply a passing trend.

According to figures from the Ministry of Environment and Food there is a yearly waste of 263,000 ton from retail and the food industry – converted into kroner this corresponds to 4.3 billion kroner a year according to the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

In other words, the food sector can earn 4.3 billion kroner a year by converting food waste into growth.

The newest family member in the fight against food waste is Wefood supermarket, which sells food close to expiry date. The initiative is already in the process of growing into a franchise with shop number two opening later this year.

In only two month Wefood has had 10,000 customers through and turned over more than 250,000 kroner. This signifies 60,000 customers and a turnover of 1.5 billion kroner a year.

If Wefood develops into 250 stores nationwide, this can become a threat to the turnover of the conventional supermarkets, unless the supermarkets use this as an inspiration to increase their own turnover.

As I also stated in Berlingske, an ordinary supermarket can set up a “shop in shop” area with date-products. Thereby they will make sure that the products are sold instead of ending up in the dumpster – and at the same time they will give the customers easy access to the fight against food waste.

Set the “food waste products” on the market

With a little determination it is possible to put the “odd” fruits from the industry on the shelves of the super market. The British retail chain Tesco and the French Intermarché are successful with selling these types of products.

Not to forget new types of food products made from “food waste” such as powder soup made of “odd” vegetables, bread chips made of surplus bread, marmalade made of “odd” fruits and chips made of various vegetable leftovers; food products that have become popular abroad. These products will create growth in the industry and agriculture.

It is a positive fact that the food sector allocates food waste for good purposes, but instead they should try to avoid food waste completely by using the food waste in “odd” food products. As Minister of Food and Environment Esben Lunde Larsen wrote in his feature in September, it is only a positive thing that surplus food goes to charity, but it would be even better, if we didn’t create surplus food.

We see a development, where food products made of surplus food, bi-products or “odd” fruit and vegetables emerges on the market. Award-winning brands as Snact, Misfit Juice, FoPo Food Powder, Imperfect, Rubies in the Rubble, Toast Ale, Wonky, Kromkommer, Barstensvol, OverLekker and Spare Fruit are among the new brands that are starting to conquer the international food markets. The Danish food sector should be inspired by this and start opening up for these new potential earnings and create growth from food waste.

Easier access to buy by weight

The trends of reducing packaging and buying by weight are growing, the latest being Copenhagen’s first and highly publicised package-free supermarket, LØS Market, which I visited together with Politikken in the end of last year. 90 percent of the Danish people wants to do something about packaging, but doesn’t have a choice.

LØS Market is not the first package-free supermarket in Denmark. In Aarhus the package-free store RÅ Varer is already up and running. And in Berlin the package-free supermarket Original Unverpackt has been open for quite a while. At LØS Market you can buy organic dry goods such as pasta and legumes the same way you buy candy by weight. Here the food is in specially designed siloes and thereby you avoid bad hygiene.

Conventional supermarkets might be inspired by this and introduce “buying by weight zones” for rice, pasta and grains for instance. This will also be a helping hand for the 1.5 million Danish singles, who cannot consume large packages of food.

More meat free products in the Danish supermarkets

Meat free days are becoming more and more popular among the Danes. An increasing number of Danes have meat free days once a week – or more. Numbers from a study by the Danish Vegetarian Society shows that approximately 160,000 Danes considers themselves as vegetarians – and approximately 60 percent of the Danes believes that there are good reasons for eating less meat. The industry and retail should thus spot this growing development and consider implementing a larger selection of meat free products in the supermarket.

I certainly do not believe that we should get rid of all meat, but the industry and retail should spot the growing meat free trend and consider implementing a larger selection of meat free products in the supermarket.

The green trend is becoming mainstream

Minister of Food and Environment Esben Lunde Larsen, with whom Stop Waste of Food has a good collaboration with, has pointed out that instead of thinking in “food waste”, we should think in “resources”.

The green trend is no longer reserved for hippies and the self-righteous – it is becoming mainstream. Therefore, this food revolution creates a new potential earning for the agriculture, industry and retail.

Many of the producers and supermarkets are keeping up with the development; everything from unit discount, smaller packages of meat and bread and sale of odd vegetables. The latest example is a juiced made of apples from Danish garden owners. And chips made of surplus bread. It is slowly coming along.

A movement of green mainstream consumers is certainly evolving – and the movement conceals a large turnover, if one manages to utilise the timing to one’s advantage.

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About the author

Blog by Selina Juul
Founder, Stop Wasting Food movement Denmark (Stop Spild Af Mad)


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