Surplus food supermarket WeFood granted the CIRCWASTE award for promoting circular economy

News 2019-07-15 at 10:31
WeFood palkinto 285
© Katja Lepistö / SYKE

The WeFood surplus food supermarket has been granted the first ever CIRCWASTE award for promoting circular economy. WeFood, the first surplus food supermarket in Finland, opened at the REDI shopping centre in Helsinki in September 2018. Every year, the award highlights actors or projects entered into the Materiaaliloikka service which promote circular economy in a progressive manner. The award is granted by the Circwaste project coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute.

During its first three months of operation, WeFood has been able to reduce food wastage by over 30,000 kg. In Finland, approximately 400–500 million kilos of originally edible food is wasted every year.

‘We are quite satisfied with the result, because our original objective was to reduce food wastage in Finland by 50,000 kg per year. At the moment, it seems that we have already reached this goal at this stage of the spring’, says Project Manager Else Hukkanen from WeFood.

The WeFood supermarket sells products donated by 28 operators which would otherwise be wasted. The best before date of the products is close, or they are otherwise not of the highest quality. However, at the time they are sold, all food products are edible.

‘Decreasing the amount of food waste is quite significant for preventing climate change, as well as for land use and biodiversity’, says Director General Lea Kauppi from the Finnish Environment Institute, who selected the recipient of the award.

Voluntary operations increase communality

The WeFood operations also increase communality, because the store is mainly run by volunteers. Up to 130 people participate in the operations. In the store, volunteers serve the customers and see to the overall appearance of the store and shelving. Some volunteers pick up donations from suppliers using an electric car sponsored by a cooperation partner.

The WeFood store is maintained by Finn Church Aid based on the concept by its Danish sister organisation. The proceeds from the sales of surplus food is directed to Finn Church Aid’s development cooperation.

‘Even though we did not design the business concept from the perspective of financial gain, reducing food wastage improves resource-efficiency from the perspective of national economy’, Kauppi says.

The WeFood surplus food supermarket has proven to be an operational model, which makes reducing food wastage more familiar to ordinary consumers.

The CIRCWASTE award by the Circwaste project

Together with a changing esteemed electorate, the Circwaste project grants one or two CIRCWASTE awards every year to actions entered into the Materiaaliloikka online service. The recipient of the award receives a diploma and publicity.

Materiaaliloikka is an online service encouraging all Finns, whether private individuals or communities, to introduce new ways of producing products and services which save more natural resources and are cleaner and more energy-efficient than before. The actions can be carried out by municipalities, companies, communities, or private individuals.

More information

Head of Unit Tuuli Myllymaa, Finnish Environment Institute
Phone +358 295 251 437, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Project Manager Else Hukkanen, WeFood
Phone +358 400 103 290, firstname.lastname@kua.fi