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ENVIRONMENT

Danish organisation aims to reduce food waste with new ‘best before’ system

New labelling on food packaging could help consumers in Denmark to cut down on food waste.

Danish organisation aims to reduce food waste with new 'best before' system
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

The new marking on a variety of products will change the way ‘best before’ information is given, accommodating products that can often be consumed after their store ‘sell-by’ dates.

The words ‘often good after’ (‘ofte god efter’) will be used on products including milk, beer and chocolate, according to Too Good To Go, an app that has developed the scheme in partnership with a number of food producers.

Companies including Carlsberg, Unilever, Løgismose Meyers, Arla, Coop, Thise, Toms and Urtekram are among those who have agreed to try the new labelling.

Selina Juul, founder of NGO Stop Wasting Food, said that current labelling on foods can confuse consumers.

“Many in Denmark think that ‘best before’ means ‘worst after’ and throw food out to be on the safe side. This scheme contributes to better knowledge about food products and thereby reduces food waste,” Juul said in a press statement released by Too Good To Go.

Another phrase, ‘use by’ ('sidste anvendelsesdato’), is used on products where consumption after that date would constitute a health risk, while ‘best before’ (‘bedst før’) is advisory and used with products which do not constitute a health risk after their sell-by dates, but must be assessed before use.

Danish dairy giant Arla has begun to use the new labelling on its Arla 24-mælk product, and plans to extend it to other products.

“It is very clear that, for large families, this might not mean so much, because many litres of milk are drunk every day,” Arla Denmark CEO Jakob Knudsen said.

“But for small households, this is important information to have, because milk might be left in the refrigerator for several days. And it has a longer lifetime than the ‘best before’ which is written on it,” Knudsen said.

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council also said it supported the project.

“This addition is likely to help many of the consumers who are not aware that ‘best before’ is not the same as ‘use by’. And therefore throw out food which has reached its ‘best before’ date,” area director Klaus Jørgensen said in a written statement.

“But our support is conditional upon this being done in close coordination with businesses and on a voluntary basis,” Jørgensen added.

READ ALSO: Government thinktank to tackle food waste in Denmark

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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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