Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Denmark
Denmark is one of the richest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of $56,307.51 in 2017. It is also ranked one of the most food secure nations worldwide, according to the Global Food Security Index. Here are the top 10 facts about hunger in Denmark.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Denmark

  1. The first of the top 10 facts about hunger in Denmark is that the country only wastes around 700,000 tonnes of food per year. The U.S., on the other hand, wastes 150,000 tonnes of food each day. This is equivalent to about a pound of food per person each day. Thus, on a global scale, Denmark is very sustainable which helps prevent widespread hunger in the country, as a significant portion of food that is not consumed is donated to food initiatives.
  2. Denmark has more initiatives against food waste in Europe than any other country — from awareness campaigns, partnerships to government subsidies. This is due in large part to a lobbying group set up by Selina Juul, called Stop Spilf Af Mad which translates to “stop wasting food”. The campaign was inspired by Juul’s experience growing up in Moscow, where she frequently experienced food shortages and bread lines which made her appalled to see food wastage in Denmark.
  3. Denmark is classified as a “strong country” in terms of food security by the Global Food Security Index, receiving a score of 80.9 out of a possible 100 for 2018. The country scored 100 points out of 100 for the presence of food safety net programs and 100 out of 100 for nutritional standards.
  4. Another one of the top 10 facts about hunger in Denmark is that WeFood, a Danish charity, opened the world’s first food waste supermarket in a low-income neighborhood in Copenhagen in 2016. It sells food at prices 30 to 50 percent less than an ordinary supermarket and was so popular that a second store in the more upscale area of Nørrebro. The project attracts both eco-conscious and cash-strapped shoppers on a limited budget.
  5. Denmark recently announced a plan to double the amount of organic farmland by 2020 and earmarked approximately $60 million to initiate the effort to increase organic food production and supply. The country’s minister of agriculture is also committed to boosting the amount of organic food served in public institutions while the Ministry of Defense has also pledged to reciprocate this action at its bases.
  6. A study done by the London School of Economics found that the impact of rising unemployment and decreasing wages were countered by social protection spending. For every additional $1,000 spent on social protection, the impact that rising unemployment had on food security fell by 0.05 percent. When social protection spending is above $10,000 per capita as found in countries such as Denmark, the effects of unemployment and wage deflation become less significant.
  7. There is a 0 percent prevalence rate of moderate to severe stunting in Denmark and the proportion of households consuming iodized salt also stands at 0 percent.
  8. One of the reasons that Denmark is so food secure is because it can produce an excess of agricultural resources such as crops, forestry and fisheries. This allows the country to stock its food banks and stockpiles of food which allows it to be self-reliant and not dependent on international organizations for aid.
  9. Danish citizens also have access to a multitude of welfare services which consolidate their food security. The VAT system funds the welfare system. This welfare system is known as the ADRA, where the organization emphasizes the policy importance of increasing food supply, incomes and savings for food purchasing.
  10. The last of the top 10 facts about hunger in Denmark is that 6 percent of 11-year-olds reported “always” going to bed hungry, 4 percent of 13-year-olds and 4.5 percent of 15-year-olds. Compared to Greenland, where 11.1 percent of 11-year-olds always go to bed hungry, Denmark has been successful in creating a state where hunger does not pose a significant problem.

– Maneesha Khalae
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Food Waste in Denmark
One out of every eight people worldwide doesn’t have adequate access to food. This sobering statistic is even more upsetting when contrasted with the amount of food wasted each year that amounts to 1.3 billion tons. That is almost one-third of all food produced for humans. This amount is well beyond what would be necessary to feed every hungry person alive today.

Facts like these are why the U.N. is committed to fighting food waste. The 12th U.N. Sustainable Development Goal includes the target of cutting international food waste in half by 2030.

Of course, this goal can only be met through international cooperation. Thankfully, many countries around the world are taking this issue seriously. In recent years, Denmark has risen to become one of the world’s leaders in fighting food waste.

Small Movements, Big Impacts

Despite being one of the smaller nations in Europe and having a population smaller than London, Denmark has more projects aimed at reducing food waste than any other European nation. The country has achieved this by using a highly cooperative approach between the government, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Several food banks and other nonprofits in Denmark get their supplies through donations from local supermarkets or restaurants. One supermarket in Copenhagen, Wefood, only sells food that would have otherwise been wasted. Typically, this is food that has reached its sell-by date or has not been used up at the end of restaurant business hours. Sometimes, this food consists of perfectly healthy fruits and vegetables that simply appear too misshapen and unattractive to reach market shelves.

Denmark’s government works to support these projects with a combination of funding and official awareness campaigns.

Stop Wasting Food

One of the largest and most impactful waste-fighting organizations in Denmark is Stop Spild Af Mad, known in English as Stop Wasting Food. This nonprofit organization was founded in 2008 and has been working toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 12 ever since.

Stop Wasting Food has worked directly with the Danish government and has ongoing partnerships with both E.U. and U.N. organizations. It also harnesses nationwide media attention to raise public awareness of food waste and lobbies supermarkets to implement waste-reducing policies in their stores.

As young as Stop Wasting Food is, it has been instrumental in helping Denmark achieve impressive results. Between the efforts of the government, businesses and willing Danish citizens, Denmark has been able to cut its food waste by a quarter since 2010 alone.

Global Applications

Abovementioned one-quarter mark is significant. If the entire world could achieve the same reduction of food waste, we could feed nearly 95 percent of all food-deprived people in the world without needing to produce any additional food.

The importance of fighting food waste will only become more obvious as we approach the 2030 date set by the Sustainable Development Goals. By 2050, the global population could spike up to nine billion and require significant additional resources for our food production to keep up. While reducing waste may not completely negate this need, it could give us the means to sustainably keep hundreds of millions fed.

Whatever the case, Denmark is a shining example for the rest of the world, and particularly for developed countries, to look up to. Denmark’s policies have both provided cheap sources of food for its own poorer citizens and a roadmap for how government and private cooperation can achieve significant change in only a few years.

Joshua Henreckson

Photo: Flickr