To combat food waste, no less than nine hundred shops of the Finnish chain S-Markets have set up a campaign in which products are sold at a lower price. Products that are close to their expiration date are then offered at a 30 percent discount. When the products are purchased after 21:00 the customer even gets an increased discount of 60 percent.
The Finnish government has been engaged in a broader government campaign for two years in which citizens are encouraged to save waste; this now also includes the campaign against food waste.
Mika Lyytikainen, vice president of S-Markets, shows that the campaign is seen as a kind of happy-hour for the customers. “The company does not make any profits from these sales. When you sell products at a discount of 60 percent, there is no margin left.” This is also an advantage because in this way S-Markets is sure that every customer can find cheap products, says Lyytikainen. Unlike charity projects, S-Markets can get back a part of the cost price in this way.
The European Union have the fight against food waste high in their list of priorities. Every year, about 1.3 billion tonnes of packaged food is lost, as shown by figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization. “It’s calculated at an annual loss of 680 billion dollars. This can be difficult to tolerate. It must be realised that 10% of the world’s population suffers from chronic malnutrition.”
Furthermore, the organisation is aware that the ecological footprint resulting from food waste amounts to an annual emission of 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. “Between 8% and 10% of all emissions are linked to food that is lost during harvest, processing or consumption.”