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Beating loneliness is just One Bowl away in Copenhagen

With many Danes suffering from loneliness and a steady flow of new people coming to the city from outside Denmark, finding ways to meet people can be a challenge.

Beating loneliness is just One Bowl away in Copenhagen
One Bowl coordinator Allwin Jebahar and volunteer Emilie Da Silva. Photo: Melanie Haynes
A volunteer-run community restaurant in Nørrebro is trying to help. 
 
At least 50 people turn up to One Bowl every Wednesday to eat together. There, you can eat as much as you wish and are only asked to pay whatever you can.
 
The aim is to bring people together for a delicious hot meal regardless of their situation. The food is served from a counter but enjoyed at long tables, where strangers can eat and talk together. There are a large number of regulars who attend each week to willingly chat with new people. 
 
One Bowl bills itself as a 'pay as you feel' community restaurant. Photo: Melanie Haynes
One Bowl bills itself as a 'pay as you feel' community restaurant. Photo: Melanie Haynes
 
I went along one Wednesday to meet the organizers of One Bowl and to find out more about why people come here. Emilie Da Silva has been volunteering at One Bowl since it started in 2014 and after a long day at work she looks forward to an evening at the restaurant. 
 
“I am excited to come along here to help out and to see people coming, their smiles as they enjoy good food and company without having to spend a lot of money,” she said. 
 
“We see a lot of the same people each week but also plenty of new faces. It is a laid-back place to hang out and there are people from all cultures, ages and background here and they all want to meet new people and eat great food together,” she added. 
 
Allwin Jebahar from southern India is the project co-ordinator behind One Bowl. He took inspiration from other community restaurants in other parts of Europe but found that back in 2014 when he launched the concept, it wasn't common in Denmark to regularly bring strangers together to eat food and socialize. He missed this kind of cultural exchange and decided to start One Bowl.
 
“I would love to open more than one night a week and I think there would be the demand for it but at the moment we would need a lot more regular volunteers to make this happen,” he said. “I am also looking a ways to fund One Bowl so we can look at having our own dedicated space.”
 
It was interesting to see the mix of guests at One Bowl enjoying the vegan meal. 
 
Henrik, 64, told me that he comes regularly to eat here.
 
“People are often on autopilot in their own cultures but it is enriching to meet people outside that context,” he said. 
 
Other guests said that they come to One Bowl to beat loneliness and meet new people, while many others said that they simply wanted to enjoy a delicious freshly-cooked meal on their limited budget. 
 
One Bowl is open every Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm. More information, including how to volunteer, is available on the community restaurant’s website
 
Volunteers serve up the restaurant's tasty meals. Photo: Melanie Haynes
Volunteers serve up the restaurant's tasty meals. Photo: Melanie Haynes

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MONEY

Why coffee could cost more for Danish consumers in 2022

The price of raw coffee beans recently reached its highest level for ten years, media in Scandinavia report, a trend which is likely to impact consumer prices in the region.

A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup.
A photo of coffee beans in Denmark. Consumers in the country may soon notice a higher cost per cup. File photo: Mathias Svold/Ritzau Scanpix

Raw coffee currently costs more than at any time in the last decade, Norwegian financial media E24 reported on Tuesday.

A doubling of the cost per kilo during the last year, reported by E24 in the summer, has been followed by further increased in recent months. The current price of 37 Norwegian kroner (28.3 Danish kroner) per kilogram is the highest for a decade, the media writes.

That is in spite of a strengthening of Norway’s currency against the US dollar, according to E24. The Danish krone is also currently strong.

Because raw coffee beans are always traded in dollars, with prices set by the New York Stock Exchange a strong exchange rate should theoretically make the beans cheaper to import to Nordic countries.

“I think we are seeing a new normal when it comes to the industrial market price of coffee,” Ola Brattås, head of imports with Norwegian chain Kaffebrenneriet, told E24.

Higher prices have already made an impression on Danish coffee companies.

Markets for the product are currently uncertain, said Lars Aaen Thøgersen, head of communication and development with Peter Larsen Kaffe.

“It’s been this way for some time. There has been uncertainty around the harvest, particularly in Brazil,” Thøgersen told news wire Ritzau.

Drought in Brazil, linked to illegal rainforest logging and climate change, is reported by E24 as a key factor in coffee prices. The International Coffee Organization’s September 2021 report also mentions weather in Brazil.

That has compounded higher transport costs and general uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

Although companies like Peter Larsen can purchase coffee directly from producers and thereby avoid financial markets, they are unable to avoid knock-om effects of high market values, according to Thøgersen.

“When this happens, all supplies around us are affected. So that naturally also affects our situation,” he said.

That means consumers are likely to also feel the effects at some point down the line, the coffee company spokesperson said.

“Consumers can already feel that prices have gone up now, and it will quite likely also be felt further,” he said.

“But it should also be put into perspective, because if you calculate per cup of coffee, a consumer will only notice a few øre (difference in price),” he also noted.

Supermarket chain Coop, which owns the Kvickly, Superbrugsen and Irma stores in Denmark, is currently negotiating 2022 supplier prices. The outcome of those negotiations is not yet known,” head of information Jens Juul Nielsen told Ritzau.

“How this will be felt on store shelves, we can’t yet say,” Nielsen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy prices hit highest level for nine years

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