As we become more and more aware of our impact on the planet, individuals, corporations, and governments are making greater moves towards sustainability. A new supermarket in Denmark called WeFood has figured out how to do more with the resources we have: the only products on its shelves are past their expiry date or damaged in such a way that they wouldn't usually be sold.
For shoppers, that means making good use of food that would otherwise be thrown away, and saving money at the same time. Prices at WeFood are up to 50 percent lower than they are at any other grocery store in Copenhagen, and those behind the project are hoping to tempt both the environmentally conscious and those with limited incomes to the store.
The Danish authorities are determined to cut down on the amount of surplus food thrown away each year, and the country as a whole has managed to reduce the figure by 25 percent over the past five years. Still, the statistics show 700,000 metric tonnes of food are tossed away in Denmark every year, with the worldwide total 1.3 billion metric tonnes – a situation described as "ridiculous" by Danish food minister Eva Kjer Hansen.
"WeFood is the first supermarket of its kind in Denmark and perhaps the world as it is not just aimed at low-income shoppers, but anyone who is concerned about the amount of food waste produced in this country," Per Bjerre from the Danish charity behind the initiative, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, told The Independent. "Many people see this as a positive and politically correct way to approach the issue."
Thanks to deals with supermarket chains and other independent stores, WeFood is able to keep its store stocked with produce, and a team of volunteers is responsible for picking up the unwanted food.
We could use a few more stores like WeFood if we're to tackle the problem of wasted food: Quartz reports that the US as a whole is throwing out 50 percent more food than it did in 1990, while a report from 2013 suggested that almost a third of the food produced across the globe is thrown away or wasted.
But is this food safe to eat? Well, the "sell by" date you see on many products actually refers to its freshness - not whether or not it's going to do you any harm. In many cases, food that's beyond this date won't be as fresh as it once was but is still perfectly edible. Of course you should still be careful to avoid eating food that's gone off, but you might find you don't have to throw away as much as you think you do.