Princess Marie of Denmark in the Wefood store. © Mikkel Østergaard
Princess Marie of Denmark in the Wefood store. © Mikkel Østergaard

Supermarket opens in Denmark selling 'out of date' food

3 March 2016

The first supermarket in Denmark selling food beyond its “best before” date has opened to help cut the 700,000 tonnes of food waste produced by the country each year.

Wefood in Copenhagen sells food food, cosmetics and household products that can no longer be sold in supermarkets because they are out of date, improperly labeled or have damaged packaging.

The food is still safe to eat but would be considered waste by supermarkets because it has passed its “best before” date, has damaged packaging, is labelled incorrectly or too much has been produced. Wefood sells the food, including bread, fruit, vegetables and dairy products, 30-50% cheaper than regular supermarkets.

Danish aid organisation DanChurchAid (DCA), which opened the shop, said it had agreements with a wide range of supermarket chains. The shop is run by volunteers who collect surplus produce daily. Profits go to help the organisation’s work around the world.

The Roskilde Foundation offered to donate 500,000 Danish krona (DKK) if DCA could match the amount. A subsequent crowdfunding campaign raised more than DKK1m.

DCA said more than 700,000 tonnes of food is thrown away in Denmark each year, costing DKK11.6bn.

“Wefood is the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps even in the world,” said Per Bjerre, a spokesperson for the initiative. “We are not just reaching out to low-income shoppers but trying to appeal to anyone concerned about the amount of food waste produced in our society.

“Based on the positive feedback it is safe to say that many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue food waste.”

The Danish minister for food and the environment, Eva Kjer Hansen, who opened the store with DCA patron Princess Marie of Denmark (pictured), said: “It's ridiculous that food is just thrown out or goes to waste.

“A supermarket like Wefood makes so much sense and is an important step in the battle to combat food waste. Wefood is hoping to help reduce the 700,000 tonnes of food waste Denmark produces every year.”

Similar stores across the country are planned if the first is a success.

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