Finn Church Aid opens Finland’s first ever supermarket selling surplus food

The volunteer-run, innovative WeFood store will open in the capital Helsinki this year. The store sells food products for 50 to 70 percent below normal prices. The profits are used to support Finn Church Aid’s development cooperation helping the poorest.

”Many benefit from the WeFood supermarket, because it prevents food waste, supports people in third-world countries, and gives volunteers a meaningful way to participate,” says WeFood project manager Else Hukkanen.

The world has awoken to the phenomenon of food waste. More than a third of the food produced in the world ends up as food waste. At the same time, 800 million people go without a sufficient amount of food and even suffer from hunger.

Even in Finland, 400 to 500 million kilos of initially edible food are thrown out and destructed every year. The amount of food waste is so great that various measures need to be taken to reduce it.

WeFood combats food waste by selling food that would otherwise become food waste, such as food in slightly damaged packagings or fruits and vegetables with superficial imperfections. The products for sale come from businesses as donations.

Finn Church Aid started a crowdfunding to cover expenditures of the surplus store through selling virtual shares. Last year 3,000 virtual WeFood shares were sold.

”We hope that the WeFood store familiarises the average consumer with the reduction of food waste,” says Hukkanen.

”The store is to open at a central location in Helsinki, so that both volunteers and customers will find it easy to come to the store.”

WeFood comes to Finland from Denmark, where two stores selling food waste products run by Finn Church Aid’s sister organisation DanChurchAid are already up and running. In Denmark, WeFood has been a big hit.

”We hope to encourage Finns too to prevent food waste through WeFood and to support development cooperation in the process.”

In recent years, food waste has become a hot topic in Finland and in all of Europe. The increased discussion has led to political decision-makers awakening to the situation. Even the European Union has set a target of cutting food waste in half by 2030, which concerns Finland as well.

Food produced only to go to waste is also an environmental issue. Measured in carbon dioxide emissions, the Finnish food waste per year corresponds to the annual emissions  of about 400,000 cars.

Finn Church Aid (FCA) is Finland’s largest development cooperation organisation and the second largest provider of humanitarian assistance. FCA works with the poorest people, regardless of their religious beliefs, ethnic background or political convictions.