This supermarket sells only wasted food
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Food waste is a big deal. That's according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. They found that 28 percent of the world's agriculture area is used to produce food. That food ultimately goes to waste. This happens each year. A new supermarket is tackling the problem. It is stocked only with wasted food. That's according to Feargus O'Sullivan. He was writing for CityLab.
The project is an outgrowth of a British non-profit. It's called the Real Junk Food Project. That's according to O'Sullivan. The group has long collected wasted food. It collected the food for pay-as-you-can cafÇs. These are located around the world.
Its supermarket is in Pudsey. It takes the idea one step further. The market takes food. Local restaurants make donations. Grocery stores also make donations. It puts it on shelves. It sells it to customers. They pay what they can.
Hazel Sheffield reports for The Independent. She said the store is already serving as a lifeline. It is helping families. They are down on their luck. It's kind of like a food pantry. But it has no restrictions. Anyone can get the food. The concept is not new. Sheffield wrote another report. The idea has taken off in Denmark. That's due to a government initiative. They want to reduce the country's volume of wasted food.
The USDA launched its first-ever food waste reduction goal. That was in 2015. It aims to reduce the amount of wasted food. It aims to reduce it by 50 percent. It aims to do so by 2030. The agency estimates that cutting just 15 percent of this waste in the United States would provide enough food for more than 25 million Americans. That's per year.
Hunger isn't the only reason to reduce food waste. Ben Schiller reported for FastCo. He found that wasted food has a carbon dioxide impact. It is equal to the output of one in four cars on the road worldwide. It also consumes a quarter of the world's freshwater. And it consumes 300 million barrels of oil. That's every year.
So why do grocery stores toss up to ten percent of all wasted food? The USDA cites dented packaging. It cites damaged packaging. It cites products that haven't been stored properly. And it cites holiday specialties that are never purchased. Overstocked foods also account for the waste. Foods that are weird-looking or misshapen also play a part. In some countries it's illegal for grocery stores to throw out food. Instead, they must donate their wasted goods. They must give them to charity or to the poor.
Food waste supermarkets aren't the only weapon in the fight against waste. There are activists. They are working to improve the cachet of strange-looking fruits and veggies.
There are plenty of creative ways to buy and eat food that would otherwise be thrown out. Maybe it's time to bring the food waste supermarket concept to the United States. It's a delicious addition to the many ways not to trash perfectly good meals.