Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food worth more than $600 billion are thrown away in the world.
And this is not just a catastrophically wrong distribution of needs against the background of the fact that 10% people in the world are chronically malnourished. Wasted food has a very negative impact on the environment. But reducing waste is a challenge, as selling as much food as possible is a tried and true part of consumer culture. Convincing merchants to promote and benefit from food rescue projects is not easy.
Fortunately, more supermarkets, restaurants and consumers are beginning to reflect on the current situation. Most of them are in Europe, the situation is worst in the USA, where an excess portion in a restaurant, which is often impossible to eat completely, is something of a national idea (portions are much more modest in Europe). 9 out of 10 US supermarket chains scored extremely low when they were rated in terms of waste management. More or less normally, things are only with walmart, but even this network is far from some European colleagues.
Perhaps the most advanced country in this matter is Denmark, where a whole Stop Wasting Food movement has appeared, organized by designer Selina Juul. She emigrated from Russia in the early 90s, when the economic situation in the country left much to be desired and interruptions in food supplies were commonplace. Selina was then 13 years old, and she was simply amazed by the abundance of all kinds of products in Danish supermarkets. But even more she was struck by the amount of food thrown away. Having matured, Selina became an activist and managed to attract the attention of many people to the problem.
Thus, the head of Denmark's largest supermarket chain REMA 1000, after talking with Selina, decided to refuse wholesale discounts (for example, when it is offered to buy 3 things for the price of 2) in order to reduce the level of consumption. Such discounts often encourage thoughtless purchases, food can be purchased only because it is cheaper, and then it will be thrown away, simply not having time to eat.
Selina is also the author of a book on how to cook with leftovers. Interestingly, the co-author of the book was Princess Marie of Denmark.
Pay attention to the problem in neighboring Finland. For example, in S-market supermarkets (the network includes more than 900 stores) there is a system of "happy hours", when from 9 pm products that expire after midnight are sold at a discount of 60%. This is beneficial for consumers and the supermarket, which makes more profit in any case than if expired goods were simply thrown away.
A whole Loop restaurant has appeared in Helsinki, which prepares dishes exclusively from such food. Well, since it is impossible to predict what kind of food they will be, chefs do not know what they will cook until they enter the kitchen. Accordingly, the menu in Loop is a surprise every time. It should be noted that the restaurant is becoming more and more popular.
Another way to deal with the throwing away of usable products is the so-called. foodsharing, which has become widespread in many countries of Western Europe. Activist-founded organizations enter into agreements with restaurants, supermarkets and small shops, under which unused food is redistributed free of charge to those who need it.
It should be noted that special mobile applications are actively used for distribution, which help retailers and restaurants with excess products, and consumers who need them, find each other. Also, modern technologies help to better manage logistics, which helps to avoid excesses when ordering new products.
They went even further in France, where supermarkets are simply forbidden to throw away excess food. They are required to donate them to charity.
And the British supermarket chain Tesco says it hasn't thrown food away since 2009. Some of the food is processed into animal feed, while unsold oils are processed to produce alternative fuels.
The list goes on. Many large supermarket chains and small retailers in Europe are actively involved in this fight against surpluses. And as practice shows, they have enough tools for this that are beneficial both to sellers and consumers.