Discarded food finds its way to new shop

Just as DanChurchAid was pioneers on the recycle front, when they first opened their shop for recycled clothes in 1972, they are now the first in Denmark to actively fight food waste with a shop that sells discarded food for a lot less than in your regular supermarket.
©Folkekirkens Nødhjælp
ReFood will be located in the Copenhagen neighbourhood Nørrebro.
303.000 tons of food every yearThe Danish Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 303.000 tons of food is discarded every year, because of passed best-before dates, wrong stamps or minor damage to packaging.
303.000 tons of food is equivalent to:
  • the annual supply of food for 515.656 Danes. (A Dane is estimated to consume 587 kilos of food each year, that's 1,6 kilos a day.
  • 53,8 kilos of wasted food per Dane
  • 65,870 elephants
  • 2,7 billion smartphones

Every year the food industry and grocery stores in Denmark throw away more than 303.000 tons of food simply because the ‘best before’ date passed, the products stamped wrongly or the packaging is broken.
As a counter action, DanChurchAid is opening a store with surplus food in cooperation with the Danish fødevareBanken (the food bank) and Dansk Supermarked (Danish Supermarket).
The store, named ReFood, will open in the Copenhagen neighbourhood Nørrebro in the beginning of 2015. The store will be for those, who wants to shop low budget as well as for those, who is against food waste. The profit from the store will go to DanChurchAid’s work for fighting hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Fight hunger, fight food waste

The products is sold up to 50-70 per cent cheaper than in a regular supermarket and the selection will range from bread, fruit and vegetables to milk, cheese and flour. Meat and cold cuts is not sold in the store for now.
“We think that ReFood is a fantastic idea! There is a direct link between our work to fight hunger and the struggle to stop food waste in Denmark. With ReFood we can fight both hunger and create profit to the work among those who starve,” says General Secretary of DanChurchAid Henrik Stubkjær.
In Dansk Supermarked, who already are trying to limit their food waste, they are happy to donate surplus food to ReFood:
“In Dansk Supermarked we have a straight focus on food waste. If a concept like ReFood is established, it will be a win-win. We will be doing something to minimize the food waste, we will be supporting DanChurchAid in their international work, and we will help fødevareBanken. But there are some technical challenges like for instance VAT and the food legislation, where we need a political clarification in order to take the next step,” says Helene Regell, Head of CSR in Dansk Supermarked.

Surplus of surplus food

Fødevarebanken who will be distributing the food to the store, is a non-profit organization, who already are collecting and distributing surplus food to organisations for socially vulnerable in Denmark.
“There is much more surplus food than our current takers can use, so if our food donors are in on the idea, a store with surplus food is a really great idea because we can reach groups, who usually doesn’t attend community centres,” says director of fødevareBanken Karen Inger Thomsen.
If the concept is profitable and sustainable, DanChurchAid will open more stores across the country.
The initiators would like to see a collaboration of several stakeholders in the food industry, and the consumer movement Stop Spild af Mad (stop food waste) is already applauding the initiative for ReFood.