HELSINKI, Finland – "Happy Hour" in the S-Market business in the working-class district of Vallila is far from the liquor and is not exactly sociable. Nobody is here for drinks or a good time. They are looking for a substantial discount on a piece of pork.
Or a chicken, a salmon fillet, or one of a few hundred items that are hours past their expiration date at midnight. Almost non-marketable food is offered for sale in each of the 900 shops of S-market in Finland. The prices, which have already been reduced by 30 percent, have been reduced by exactly 21.00 clock to 60 percent. It's part of a two-year food waste reduction campaign that company executives decided on in this well-known biblical land, calling it "Happy Hour" in the hope of recruiting patrons like any decent pub.
Total cost after the price collapse: $ 4.63.
About One Third of the Cost Food produced and packaged for human consumption is lost or wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That equates to 1.3 billion tons per year and a value of almost 680 billion US dollars. The numbers are more than just a catastrophic misallocation of needs and desires, as 10 percent of people in the world are chronically malnourished. All these food surpluses contribute to climate change, according to scientists.
8 to 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are due to food lost during harvest and production or wasted by consumers Climate change found. Rotting landfills release methane, a gas that is approximately 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. And to harvest and transport all those wasted foods requires billions of acres of arable land, trillions of gallons of water, and huge amounts of fossil fuels.
For consumers, reducing food waste is one of the few personal habits that can remedy the planet. But for some reason, many people annoyed about their carbon footprint are sweating, not the vegetables and rumpsteak they throw in the bin.
"There was a lot of emphasis on energy," said Professor Paul Behrens in Energy and Environmental Change at Leiden University in the Netherlands. "However, climate change is just as much a land and food problem as anything else."
Waste reduction is a challenge, as selling as many foods as possible is a proven and ingrained component of all-you-can-eat cultures. It is not so obvious to convince the merchants to promote and benefit from the "food saving".
"Consumers pay for the food, and who wants to reduce it?" Said Toine Timmermans, director of the United Against Food Waste Foundation, a non-profit organization in the Netherlands made up of companies and research institutes. "Who benefits from reducing food waste?"
A growing number of supermarkets, restaurants and start-ups – many based in Europe – are trying to answer that question. The United States is another matter.
"Food waste could be a uniquely American challenge as many people in this country equate the amount with a bargain," said Meredith Niles, Assistant Professor of Food Systems and Policy at the University of Vermont. "Look at the number of restaurants promoting their oversized portions."
Nine of the ten supermarket chains in the US rated by the nonprofit Center for Biodiversity last year received a grade of C or less for food. Waste problems. Only Walmart did a better job, mainly because of his efforts to standardize dates and train employees and customers.
Some of the most promising food waste efforts are apps that connect food vendors with food buyers. Think of Tinder, except that one party in this connection is one person and the other is an aging loaf.
One of the most popular is Too Good to Go, a Copenhagen-based company with 13 million users and contracts with 25,000 restaurants and bakeries in 11 countries. Consumers pay about one third of the sticker price for items, most of which go to the retailer, with a small percentage being paid to the app.
In Denmark, the salvation of food has reached the magnitude and momentum of a cultural movement with its own intellectual patina: Selina Juul, a graphic designer who immigrated from Russia at the age of 13.
"I came from a country where there was a fear that tomorrow we would not have food on the table where there was food shortage," she said in a telephone interview. "When we emigrated, I had never seen so much food. I was shocked. Then I was shocked again when I saw how much food people had wasted. "
In 2008, at the age of 28, she founded a Facebook group called Stop Wasting Food. Within a few weeks she was interviewed on the radio. Shortly thereafter, she became aware of Anders Jensen, the purchasing manager at REMA 1000, the largest supermarket chain in Denmark.
"I was on a business trip to Scotland and read about Selina in a newspaper," Mr Jensen recalled. "At that time, we learned that every Dane threw away 63 pounds of food a year – about 139 pounds -" and I sat in that airport, thinking she was right. "
After meeting in a Copenhagen café, REMA 1000 eliminated volume discounts at the store. As of 2008, there would be no more three ham for the price of two or a variation on that theme.
"It exploded in the media because it was the first time a retailer said," It's O.K. if we sell less, "said Jensen.
REMA 1000 and Ms. Juul realize that there is a limit to how much a business can do to reduce waste. Awareness raising was necessary. That's why Ms. Juul hired famous Danes to join her cause.
Together with Princess Marie, who worked in advertising and marketing, she writes a book on cooking leftovers before joining the Danish royal family. Celebrity chefs such as Rene Redzepi have made this known. Mette Frederiksen, the current prime minister, even made it into an election campaign this year.
In Finland, reducing food waste is not yet a political issue, but it is a selling point for at least one restaurant. Each dish on Loop's menu, located in a former mental hospital in Helsinki, is made from overdue ingredients donated by grocery stores and bakeries. The donations vary so Loop cooks have no idea what they will do until they enter the restaurant's kitchen.
"It's like an episode of" Master Chef "every day," said Johanna Kohvakka, founder of the charitable organization "From Waste" to Taste, who operates Loop. "But we try to make each dish look great so people can share pictures online and say," That was just about waste. "According to Kohvakka, Loop makes a profit and could serve as a role model for similar ventures, and executives at S-market in Finland make no such claims regarding their happy hour," said Mika Lyytikainen, a vice president of S-market that the program only reduces losses.
"If we sell 60 percent, we do not make money, but we earn more than if the food were given to charity," he said. "On the other hand, now everyone can Buy finely priced groceries in our stores. "
It's not uncommon for groups of S-market buyers to find items from the shelves that will soon be offered at discounted prices, waiting for the watch to open at 9 o'clock Uhr strikes. "That's what I did," Karkkainen said as he walked to the exits with his pork ribs.
Other Finns do not seem to have fully adopted S yet Market Anti-Waste Ethos Harri Hartikainen, 71, went shopping in Vallila one evening and found a 60 percent box of grilled Kansas City-style chicken wings valuable.
"But it's so cheap, if I do not like it, I can just kick it out."