Have you ever thought about the amount of food grocery stores throw away? – Each year the United States throws away 133 billion pounds of food (10% of this is thrown away by grocery stores), which is one third of all the food it produces.
The general business model of grocery stores is that they are fully stocked at all times so that the “customer experience doesn’t suffer”.
Besides this, there are other reasons, like food appearance, outdated promotional items and overstocked product display which add to the problem of supermarket food waste. On one side we have poverty, which is never higher among America’s youth, and on the other we have grocery stores throwing away around 13 billion pounds of food. And this is the situation all over the world. Ridiculous!
The French government has decided to do something about it.
They have recently passed a law that prescribes food stores to donate unsold food to charities or for animal feed. France too has been hit by a paradoxical epidemic – large supermarkets were wasting huge amounts of food, while the poor were struggling to at least have one meal a day. Now, hopefully, their situation will improve.
All grocery stores in France larger than 400 square meters are to donate food they fail to sell, in accordance with the new law that could easily be extended to the rest of the EU.
Grocery stores should sign food-donating contracts with humanitarian organizations or “food banks” until July next year. This decision was the result of a media campaign led by the young right-wing activist, Arash Derambarsh, who was appalled with the sight of homeless people going through the garbage while so much food was being wasted by large businesses.
Derambarsh used to collect discarded food from supermarkets by himself to give it away to the homeless, but at one point he decided to launch a petition for the adoption of the said law. The petition gathered unprecedented support and the law was passed.
Jacques Bailet, president of the French Federation of Food Banks (FFBA), says that food banks all over France will require additional staff and storage areas in order for Derambarsh’s idea to succeed.
On the other hand, CEOs of large supermarket chains don’t approve of the campaign, especially because their businesses were represented as “cruel supermarket chains that foolishly throw away food”.
“We generate only 5% of all the food wasted in France,” says one of them, convinced that the initiative arose just to make the politicians feel better.
Some 4,500 supermarkets have already signed agreements to donate surplus food. Meanwhile, Derambarsh has launched a similar petition throughout the entire European Union. He hopes to collect at least 1 million signatures from seven countries, as that is what is necessary for the European Commission to even consider his proposal.