North by North East

I’ve got more praise here for Denmark and its attempts to tackle food waste.  Having read about their “Stop Wasting Food” campaign and its heroine Selina Juul in the Sunday Herald recently, I spotted and clicked on a BBC online news article called “The Danish supermarket chain selling surplus food” (6 December 2017).  It was a short film headed “WORLDHACKS  The surplus food supermarket chain” and is well worth watching as it gladdens the heart.

The supermarket is called Wefood and it opened in Copenhagen in 2016; they’ll be up to 3 branches next year so are becoming a chain.  Not only are they selling food that is past that daft “best before” date, they also sell stuff that did not pass quality control ie food with “minor flaws” which normal supermarkets won’t take as they believe customers wouldn’t buy it.  They sell at about 50% of the market value and have signs up telling folk that the food has ‘expired’ or is close to its expiry date and they advise that it’s eaten as soon as possible.  Fresh food such as melons are checked by the staff for edibility.


They get offered huge amounts of food from businesses such as hotels that can’t use it themselves and one of the workers from Wefood rightly rails against irresponsible overproduction of food.

I dread to think how much food is going to be wasted again this Christmas.  I spoke to a worker in my local M & S food shop last year and he told me how he had spent up to an hour throwing unsold poultry and other food into a skip on Christmas Eve because Christmas Day was a Sunday and they wouldn’t be open again till the 27th.  That was just one wee branch too.  It’s actually sinful what goes on.

“Food Sharing Edinburgh” have made a start here in Scotland and I hope that on a bigger scale, we’ll look to Scandinavia for inspiration and guidance on this and much else too.  Denmark’s the same size as us but they’ve got so much more gumption.

Now praise for Finland: they’ve reversed their poor health statistics partly by encouraging Finns to collect, freeze and eat berries and they have free salad BY LAW in every restaurant and canteen.  Isn’t that fabulous?  Yesterday in Shawlands’ newish fish restaurant, I watched a young woman scraping a portion of side salad off her plate onto her party’s communal rubbish plate with such an expression of distaste before she tackled her fish and chips.  Yes, I was eating fish and chips too but ate up all my salad.

In yesterday’s National, Lesley Riddoch – who by the way is my candidate for Scotland’s first President – was writing not just about Finland’s food habits but its housing with district heating supplied as part of the rent, their tram system, their waterfront housing developments, their highest rate of public library use in the world and their fine education system which I understand has banned homework.  Last year, they introduced a basic citizen’s income of 560 euros a month which is already making a difference to the lives of Finland’s poorest citizens.

Political parties share power in Finland and there is no formal opposition.  Here in Scotland, we often have opposition just for the sake of it, even carping about the contents of the baby box  –  another fine idea from Finland.

Let’s look north east and learn.




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