The future solutions of food waste in Scandinavia

By Henriette Bertheussen Isachsen

In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually. In an effort to reduce food waste in todays society, organizations, companies and stores work on strategies to save the food such as campaigning to make people aware of the issue, selling food cheaper when the product is close to expiration date or collecting the food and give it to food banks. How is the situation in two of the Scandinavian countries; Denmark and Norway when it comes to wasting food?

In Norway a country of 5,2 million inhabitants, at least 355,000 tonnes of food is wasted annually, while Denmark with 5,7 inhabitants accounts for the double, 700 000 tonnes of food every year.

One association working against food waste in Denmark is the association Stop Spild af mad. It is a socio-economic association that works both nationally and internationally to prevent and minimize food waste throughout the food supply chain through information, national and international partnerships, campaigns and similar activities.

According to the association, household food waste in Denmark amounts to around 260,000 tonnes per year. Compared with the total amount of waste in the two countries, these numbers are relatively similar. In Norway 216 550 tonnes of food are wasted from households every year or 42,6 kg per person a year, while numbers for Denmark shows 47 kg per person.


The graph shows which sectors waste the most food in Denmark and Norway. Source; Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark and Framtiden i våre hender.


In Denmark 64 % of the food waste come from retail, food industry, food production, institutions, hotels and restaurants while 36 % come from the households.

Reduced household waste the last ten years in Denmark

A research by KANTAR Gallup for “Stop spild af mad” published this year about food waste in Denmark, shows what Danish people found most helpful to help reduce their household food waste during the last ten years. According to the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, the household food waste was in 2017 around 14,000 tonnes lower than in 2011.

According to the research the most useful measures were supermarkets selling food at reduced price for products about to expire, products and packagings aimed at singles and smaller households and more knowledge about food waste in society.

An app created to reduce food waste from restaurants and cafés

One company, called Too Good To Go, with headquarters in Copenhagen fights food waste by giving stores a platform to sell their surplus food.

Lea Mosegaard, marketing specialist in the company explains that 200 000 meals were sold through the app in Denmark in 2017. The company is partnered with 5 000 stores around Europe to fight food waste.  The app lets you buy the unsold food from stores, restaurants and cafés.

The company explains their vision as a win-win situation, for both consumers, stores and the environment. By rescuing the food there will be less food waste related CO2 emissions, the consumers buy the food at reduced price and the stores earn money on the food they otherwise would throw out.