Düsseldorf (dpa) – Too Good To Go, Rettergut or Motatos: More and more start-ups are fighting against food waste in Germany. There is a lot to do because, according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, around 12 million tons of food end up in the garbage every year in Germany.
The problem now burns on the soul of many people. In a recently published representative survey by the food manufacturer Danone and the company Too Good To Go, 86 percent of those questioned in Germany rated food waste as a “big” or “very big” problem.
Creative ways of saving food
Start-ups have many ideas for saving food. The Danish food-sharing startup Too Good To Go, for example, has specialized in distributing remaining stocks from restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores to self-collectors via app in the form of surprise bags – with a hefty price discount, of course. It now works with Edeka, Kaufland and Netto Nord, among others.
The Berlin start-up Dörrwerk, on the other hand, concentrates on the utilization of fruit and vegetables that are no longer on the market due to aesthetic defects. Under the Rettergut label, the Berliners now sell a variety of products from fruit spreads to organic soups.
The Berlin start-up Motatos sells food overproduction or seasonal goods from manufacturers in the online shop. “It is immensely important to bring these already produced resources into the recycling cycle in a meaningful way, instead of throwing them in the trash,” Managing Director Alexander Holzknecht recently told the “Lebensmittel Zeitung”. Motatos claims to be one of the few suppliers who sell goods after the best-before date has expired, if they are still in perfect condition. “We have our own quality control for this,” emphasized Holzknecht.
And there is also something going on outside the metropolises. The small craft beer brewery Orca Brau in Nuremberg brews beer from bread that would otherwise end up in the garbage can.
Make consumers think
Felicitas Schneider from the Thünen Institute, which as a federal research institute has carefully examined the topic of food waste in recent years, sees the start-ups’ commitment as positive. «I think that every start-up that opens up an additional target group contributes to solving the problem. If consumers just start thinking about the problem, that’s not bad. “
The large retail chains have come together in a dialogue forum to reduce food waste. They work with the food banks or food sharing organizations to reduce food waste, are increasingly selling fruit with blemishes or reducing the price of goods with a short best-before date in order to sell them after all. And of course they also cooperate here and there with start-ups such as Motatos, Sirplus or ResQ Club.
Consumers are the biggest wasters
So there is a lot going on in the grocery trade. But there is a catch: According to calculations by the Thünen Institute, retailers sort out around 500,000 tons of food as waste every year. Still, he’s not the big food waster at all. Because this means that just four percent of food waste is accounted for by wholesalers and retailers. More than half (52 percent) ends up in the trash in private households.
But of course start-ups are also active here: To Good To Go, for example, with its campaign “Often good for longer”. The company wants to educate consumers to be more relaxed about the best before date. With prints that can now be found on more and more foods, the start-up recommends trusting your own senses. Instead of simply throwing the products away when the best-before date has expired, the customer should test with his eyes, nose and mouth whether the goods are still good. According to the survey by Danone and Too Good To Go, Germans are a little braver than Austrians or Swiss when it comes to trying things after the best-before date has expired.