Food waste in supermarkets

Introduction

In recent years there has been a lot of discussion in politic and media about food waste. Some countries have made laws to reduce food-waste. In France supermarkets aren’t allowed to waste food. They have to give it for free to homeless people before they waste the food. Germany has similar laws for food waste like France. Here in Switzerland we don’t have any laws for food waste in supermarkets. They are allowed to throw away what they want.

In Switzerland supermarkets are responsible for only 5 % of the all the food that gets wasted. Around 50 % of the food gets wasted at home. But the food that is wasted from supermarkets is most of the times good food, while private households waste the food when it’s not eatable anymore. So the food that is wasted in supermarkets gets wasted for no reason in most cases.

Interview

We have made an interview with the owner of a little farmshop (05.01.2020):

How much food do you waste?

Nearly nothing. Only products like eggs or milk are very tricky to store.

Which food get wasted the most by you?

Eggs, because they are the trickiest products and get bad very fast.

Why do you throw away the food?

Because otherwise you can get a food poisoning. This would be bad for our reputation and we can get sued.

Have you done arrangements against the food waste?

No, we dont do anything, because the demand is not planable. We look that we waste as less food as possible.

Would you eat food which is older then the “best before date”?

Yes, nearly in every case. In milk and meatproducts we look very carefully. Naturally we cant sell food which is over the best-before date, because it is not alloud.

Have you a bad conscience when you throw away good food?

No, because we only waste food which you cant consume anymore.

Do you attach importance to the spotlessness of an apple for example?

No, I dont tend to, because external flaw does not mean that the food is not good anymore.

If you have the choose between an older product and a fresh one which would you take? Both are eatable?

I would tend to fresh food, but I would never waste food, which is over the best-before date but edible. 

Do you have a solution against the food waste in supermarkets here in Switzerland and as well in other countries?

You can give the food for example to poor people.

Solutions

There are many solutions for the problem. Supermarkets can give away the food which is over the best before date for free. This is also a possibility for poor citizens to spend less money. In this less food gets wasted and you help poor people. But there is also a downside with this method. If the supermarkets are forced to give the bad food away for free, nobody would buy any food, but wait until the food is over the best-before date and would get it for free then. We think this can’t be the solution.

Another solution would be, that they have to give the bad food to welfare recipients for free. We think this would be a great idea, because the supermarkets can sell their food for the normal price in most of the times, but less food gets wasted. Also only poor people get the food for free.

Added comment from the writers

Food waste has a huge effect on climate change and is responsible for about 8 % of the CO2 balance sheet. In Switzerland supermarkets are responsible for about 5 % of the food waste. So supermarkets are responsible for 0.4 % of the balance sheet.

In our opinion the food waste in supermarkets is only a small problem in terms of climate change. The most food gets wasted at home. So we are responsible to reduce our food waste and make a little step into a sustainable world.

Anja and Nathan

Sources

We have all our informations from this website and from the owner of the local farmshop.
Food waste, (foodwaste.ch), Verein foodwaste.ch, unspecified date

On-Topic Posts on dontwastemy.energy
End Food Waste – The Challenge
foodwaste at weddings
The impact on climate by food
Best before, not deadly from

 

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5 thoughts on “Food waste in supermarkets

  1. I chose this link because Foodwaste is a big topic and I think it is important to do something against it. It surprises me that in France you are not allowed to waste food. I think this makes a lot of sense and I would support that every other country introduces this rule. I am also a little bit shocked, that 50% of food is wasted at home. Even though most food is only thrown away when it is no longer edible. So why do you buy it, when you don’t need it? I find the proposed solutions all very good, and I think this problem could be solved well. A solution could also be that the food from the supermarkets is given free to organizations that deal with famine, homeless people or people living at the limit of existence. Foodwaste concerns all of us, so it’s important that everyone helps.

  2. I like the introduction. They show the difference of food waste in countries clearly. The interview is good arranged. But I would have done two interviews to show the difference of one small shop like the farmshop and one like coop ore migros. I think that would be very interesting. I also guess some pictures would be great and bring a break in the text.
    These article shows up that coop also take a look of food waste: 

  3. I think this subject is interesting and very popular at the moment. You’re done a short and informative project. I was surprised how much CO2 is caused by throwing food away.
    I think it would have been more interesting if the focus had perhaps been shifted to other countries as well. How do they deal with this issue? What are their solutions? Another aspect would be to include the expiry date, as many products are still edible or a new law against throwing away food. That everything should be recycled.
    I think it is very important that changes on this subject are being made. I think it can’t be that in one part of the country people are staring, whilst other throw away edible food.

  4. In my opinion it is very good, that France is not allowed to waste food. It is very sad, that in Switzerland 50% of the food gets wasted at home. I think the interview is very exciting. I also worked for about 1 month in a petrol station who has a small supermarket. It is sad how much bread, which was not sold until the evening, was thrown away there. Not even the employees were allowed to take it home.
    I think the solution, that supermarkets can give away the food, which is over the best before date for free to poor people would be very helpful. But who are poor people? And how can we know that someone is poor?

  5. I really like the subject of your article and it was exciting to read it.
    I didn’t know that the supermarkets are responsible for only 5% of the wasted food in switzerland. It liked that you interviewed the owner of a little farmshop. Maybe it would have been great, if you could have compared his answers, with some of a big supermarket like “Coop” or “Migros”.
    The fact, that you have added a solution for this problem, was a great idea. I think it is exciting for the reader, when he can compare his own solution proposal with someone’s other.
    Maybe a little sidenote, I thought in the whole article, there are the words “food” and “waste” a bit too often. Maybe the next time you can try it with a few synonyms if there are some.

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