What do retailers do against food waste?

BOris Burghart is certain: "The one who prevents the waste of food does nothing wrong," says the lawyer, a board member of the Society for Freedom Rights. The case funded and has just helped two students to file a constitutional complaint in Karlsruhe against their conviction. Young women were found guilty of stealing at the beginning of the year for taking fruit, vegetables and yogurt in a dumpster at a supermarket in Bavaria. They opened the basket with a square key. Burghart finds: "The containers, this is not theft."

Jonas Jansen

The legal situation is clear but clear: the so-called container can be punished with theft or trespass, even if the supermarkets have thrown the food in the garbage. However, there has been a public debate over food waste for years, with traders often at the center. Four years ago, the Thünen Institute in Braunschweig determined that the share of food waste trade was the lowest. Most waste is generated in households, where most of the waste can be avoided. Only four to five percent of the food sold in Germany is sold.

99 percent of the food is sold

Therefore, the Federal Association of German Food Industries (BVLH) does not consider the legalization of containerization as effective. The Rewe Group, which includes Penny discount stores, sells an average of 99% of its food products each year. Basically, it is rare for containers, the company tells on request. Because food in the trash can be dirty, the cold chain is interrupted or even invisible mold spores can form, employees have been encouraged to secure the dumpster. Aldi Süd also informs on request that the containers "will not be tolerated".

Feel the milk

In early 2019, the federal government adopted a strategy for food waste, according to which food waste must be halved by 2030. Only this week, a dialogue forum for wholesale and retail trade has been created. The Ministry of Agriculture is also promoting an online platform facilitating communication between grocers and the blackboard. Traders have been working with the boards for years, Rewe since 1996. Most of the products that are no longer sold by traders arrive there. Nevertheless, they are also trying to educate consumers with more and more advice: for example, Aldi Süd has printed an invitation to his dairy products so that customers will know calmly whether the milk is still good – and not just about the expiration date.

Many traders also reduce their prices as the expiry date approaches. Edeka has created an internal product exchange for perishable products. Research is being carried out not only in ministries and shopping centers: with the help of Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian researchers, the University of Applied Sciences Münster is studying strategies for using food waste as a raw material for processing industry. Especially in the abandonment of fossil raw materials, it is interesting for the chemical industry.

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