05:57 GMT19 January 2021
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    Wealthy societies tend to be also the most wasteful in terms of food. Recently, however, a trend towards fighting food waste and a more conscious shopping has emerged in Denmark, bolstered by a mobile app, which notifies shoppers about discounts in nearby stores to prevent food waste.

    Danish stores have been known to offer discounts on products which are nearing their expiry date, or even give this food away for free. This process, which obviously facilitates shopping and helps to combat food waste, has been greatly sped up by the YourLocal app, which informs users about lucrative and eco-friendly last-minute deals.

    Since it was launched last year, the app has aggregated some 70,000 users and today cooperates with over 500 stores across the country. The app is available free of charge for both iPhone and Android users. YourLocal, which is currently available in Danish and Swedish, hopes to reach another 50,000 subscribers and 900 businesses by the end of the year and eventually expand to other countries, Danish newspaper Dansk Handelsblad reported.

    YourLocal is useful to both businesses, such as grocery stores, bakeries, restaurants and flower shops, who are struggling to rid themselves of fresh produce that would otherwise go bad, and consumers, who are happy to purchase products at heavily reduced prices and help Mother Nature.

    YourLocal was founded last year as an SMS service in Copenhagen's district of Vesterbro by a group of volunteers in a bid to bond people with their local shops, while fighting food waste and saving money.

    The app's growing popularity reflects an emerging tendency away from consumerism and towards a more socially conscious mode of shopping. Earlier this year, Denmark's first food waste supermarket was opened in the capital city of Copenhagen. The so-called ‘surplus supermarket,' run by Danish humanitarian NGO DanChurchAid, aimed at supporting the world's poorest. Only two months after its debut, the organizers announced expansion plans for Copenhagen and Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus.

    ​The concept of selling food that would otherwise be thrown out at a discounted price has turned out to be a successful one, and the first food waste store in Copenhagen proved to be profitable. According to DanChurchAid Secretary General Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, there is a queue on the street every day.

    In general, Danes throw out over 700,000 tons of food every year, but today Denmark has more initiatives against food waste in Europe than any other state, using methods ranging from awareness campaigns to government subsidies for food waste projects. One of the driving forces behind this progress is the Stop Spild af Mad (Stop Food Waste) lobby group, founded by Moscow-born designer Selina Juul.

    According to statistics from the World Food Program, some 800 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.

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    Tags:
    starvation, mobile app, food waste, Copenhagen, Scandinavia, Denmark
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