The store in the German city of Cologne is the first of its kind in the country and the third one in the European Union. It sells products of all kinds, from vegetables to beer. And the unusual thing is that all these products would otherwise have been destroyed as waste.
The other peculiar thing about “The Good Food” is that there are no fixed prices. Consumers decide how much they think a product is worth.
You only need to take one look at the figures to understand why Nicole Klaski decided to start “The Good Food”.
Every year, one third of the food produced in the world gets wasted. If we saved just a quarter of that wasted food, we could feed almost 900 million hungry people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Klaski and Thurn want to stop food waste.
Valentin Thurn is an author and the award-winning director of the “Taste the Waste” documentary. He came along to the opening to celebrate what he sees as a positive move to combat food waste. But he also told DW there were still major challenges to be overcome.
“This idea is simply great,” Thurn said. “I still cannot understand why we throw so much food away!”
The starting point
Well, actually, he says, he does have some idea. “The trade knows we prefer to buy something that looks perfect,” he said.
Indeed, the FAO’s information shows that at retail level, food is mostly wasted because it does not look attractive.
“No one wants to throw the food away,” Klaski said. “We save the vegetables and expired products, and the producers are happy that their food is still eaten.” For her, the system is a “win-win cooperation.” What about health risks?
Some of the curious visitors having a look around “The Good Food” admitted they would not buy certain products if they were past the date. Others, however, said it was easy to tell by the color or smell if a product was still in good condition or not.
Klaski herself is not worried that there could be health risks involved. “The expiry dates on products are only a suggestion for the consumer,” she told DW. “Most of the products last much longer.”
But in the unfortunate event that someone really did get sick, someone has to carry the responsibility. That is why Klaski says the team takes their duty very seriously to inform consumers when a product is out of date.
“And, of course, if something happens we will have to take the responsibility,” she added. “But we are even willing to do that; it is worth trying.”
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