SWITZERLAND - A new start-up company in Switzerland is leading the way on helping to reduce our food waste, writes Lucy Towers.
Food waste is a huge global concern with around one third of all food produced worldwide being wasted each year, according to UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Not only does this impact the economy ($1 trillion worth of food wasted each year), there is also a huge negative environmental impact.
With food being wasted in all stages of the supply chain, due to oversupply, short sell by dates and company policy to sell only 'fresh' produce, to name a few, tackling this issue will require work at every stage of the production process.
Tackling the problem must also involve educational work on a consumer level as large quantities of fruit, vegetables and meat are not accepted by supermarkets due to the consumer preference for 'perfect' looking produce.
With increasing food availability in many countries alongside rising incomes, many people also do not think twice about throwing food or leftovers away, especially if it has passed its best before date - yet is still perfectly edible.
Taking an important step towards addressing these educational issues and towards reducing food waste is the Swiss-based Ass-Bar shop (Swiss-German for Edible).
Bakery products that are made fresh in supermarket stores or bakeries are thrown away at the end of the day if unsold, despite them still being perfectly edible for days.
The young entrepreneurial team behind Ass-Bar takes these bakery products, such as bread, sandwiches, cakes and pastries, from local bakeries to sell in its stores.
The first Ass-Bar shop was set up in Zurich and after its success of selling 40 tonnes of bread and pastries in one year, a second store has been opened in Bern.
Simon Weidmann, CEO of the Ass-Bar shop in Bern, stated that after just six months of running, they have sold over 20 tons of bakery produce that otherwise would have been wasted.
Bread, according to Swiss law, has no expiration date, explained Mr Weidmann, meaning we can sell it when bakeries would have thrown it away.
Similarly, sandwiches and pastries can be sold up to three days extra when stored correctly.
So far the Ass-Bar shop has proved very popular with both young and old alike, said Mr Weidmann.
Both of these customer groups are sensitive to price and like the idea that it is a sustainable business, he said.
So, next time you are feeling peckish, why not pay Ass-Bar a visit and do your bit on helping to prevent food waste.
For more information on Ass-Bar, please visit http://aess-bar.ch/