Food sharing, awareness campaigns, cooking with leftovers. Initiatives are springing up everywhere to counter food waste. Every year there is still much good food being thrown away.
In Belgium, in the municipalities of Herstal and Namur, a new law requires supermarkets to donate unsold products that are still good to voluntary associations which help those in need.
In Lisbon, through the Refood project, hundreds of volunteers are cycling around for restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, supermarkets and private homes to retrieve leftover food, taking it to associations that provide aid to the poor in the local area. In the district of Nossa Senhora de Fatima there are more than 100 locals participating and more than 300 volunteers; in Telheira there are 200 volunteers and 150 shops signed up.
In Helsinki, in the area of Roihuvuori, there is a strong focus on sharing food in the neighborhood: local residents can bring their excess food or make use of what’s available through the project "Saa syödä" (literally: "license to eat")a project that was developed by private companies and supported by the Ministry of the Environment.
In Denmark, the consumer movement Stop Wasting Food continues its fight against food waste with awareness campaigns in schools and through public lectures and seminars. What’s more, with the collaboration of renowned Danish chef the association has created a series of cookbooks, the Leftovers Cookbook, which explains how to reuse leftovers of meals to cook new dishes.
In France, supermarket chain Intermarché has launched a campaign called Inglorious fruits and vegetables, which aims to sell vegetables that are aesthetically ugly, but still good: according to European standards, "ugly fruit" has no market appeal and goes straight from the field to landfill even though it’s still perfectly edible. Thanks to this campaign, fruits and vegetables with strange shapes are rehabilitated and helps to sensitize people to the fact that certain products may be ugly but are still cute. In a test bench in the produce section where dedicated packaging emphasizes their goodness, stores in which the campaign was implemented recorded in just a few months, a 24 percent increase in sales.
Similar to the French experience Ugly Fruits was born in Germany: a campaign of rehabilitation of aesthetically ugly but nutritionally good fruit launched by three students. Thanks to their initiative a now lumpy lemon, or discolored zucchini or misshapen carrots are on supermarket shelves and tables. The dream of the three students, as reported by Der Spiegel is to see the emergence of "Ugly Fruits" supermarkets, stores that sell only products that are rejected by other chains.
Again in Germany, but in Berlin, sit two refrigerators in the courtyard of an apartment building in the district of Kreuzberg that house food just past or close to its expiry date or leftover or aesthetically ugly fruit and vegetables. These shared fridges are filled by volunteers who deal with surplus collections from businesses, shops and restaurants, but also by ordinary people in the neighborhood.
Also in Germany in 2012 is Culinary Misfits, a catering company that creates dishes using only ingredients discarded by restaurants and supermarkets because of their unconventional shape or fruits and vegetables with bruises that do not meet the aesthetic and dimensional parameters. Thus they become good and tasty ingredients in dishes that are prepared for parties, receptions and events of all kinds. The idea came from two former German designers Lea Emma Brumasck and Tanja Krakowski, whose initiative, "culinary misfits" has a name that speaks ironically about the aesthetic appearance of fruits and vegetables as “freaks of nature” but also dispels the common belief that food is only good if it's good looking.
Nick Papadopoulos, tired of throwing unsold products of her family's farm, Bloomfield Organics, launched an online community platform CropMobster™. This tool allows farmers, traders, restaurateurs in the San Francisco Bay Area to publish advertisements of surplus food for sale, donation, or business. Messages are immediately sent via the website to various social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Since its launch in March 2013 CropMobster has put $500,000 into the circulation of food, about one million servings for people, food banks, schools and other groups in need.