A UN panel said earlier this month that supermarkets’ preference for perfect-looking produce and the use of arbitrary “best before” labels caused massive food waste that, if reversed, could feed the world’s hungry.The "best-before" label, as I understand it, has everything to do with the producer and nothing to do with the store that may be hawking it. Best-before medicines encourage more sales. Best-before bananas find green bananas for sale. Best-before grapefruit places a thick-skinned, little-juice fruit in the bin. Well-gassed tomatoes are red-red-red where what's on the vine varies in hue. Upscale pork loins, sold at a well-trimmed premium price, have become premium-price meats that need fat-trimming once brought home. And avocados are seldom less than rock-hard green. In toto, the shelf-life of a product is extended through reduced quality.
Nearly 1.3bn tonnes of food are wasted every year, more than enough to sustain the 1 billion people suffering from hunger globally, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said.
Naturally, the markets mewl, "it's not my fault." Only of course it is. If I buy a product and then resell it, whose responsibility is the quality? Markets hire public relations firms to counter any criticism or resemblance to the truth.
Come harvest season, news stories and pictures depict mounds of tomatoes or oranges that were not perfect enough and are destined to be plowed back into the soil. It is hard to look at such pictures and not be aware that there are people literally starving. But of course this is not the market's fault. And heaven forbid that it should be my fault.
Well, in Denmark there seems to be some pushback:
It may be past its sell-by date, but for many Danes it’s a tasty proposition: surplus food being sold in a Copenhagen supermarket has proved so popular that a second store has been opened.
After launching in the district of Amager earlier this year, the Wefood project attracted a long queue as it opened a second branch in the trendy neighbourhood of Nørrebro, this month.