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For a Supermarket Chain in Finland, "Happy Hour" is a Novel Way to Combat Food Waste

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Nov 4, 2019 8:57 AM 2 min read

In a supermarket chain in Finland, "Happy Hour" is something customers look forward to regularly. This "Happy Hour", however, doesn't involve beer and subsidised revelry but a flash sale of nearly-expired food items with steep discounts.


S-market is a chain of 900 supermarkets across Finland. They came up with the concept of Happy Hour as a way to tackle food waste. Every evening for one hour the supermarkets cut the prices of all food items about to expire - like meat, fish and vegetables - by 30%-60%. The idea has proved to be popular - throngs of people wait outside the stores waiting for sale to begin - and is gaining traction.


And Why Wouldn't It?: The S-market stores benefit from profiting at least something off of products that would have been thrown away otherwise. Also, no/less money to be spent on discarding any waste. (The good PR doesn't hurt either.)


For buyers, it's a golden opportunity to purchase food at a fraction of the cost. This is particularly good news for economically weaker sections of society.


Make Earth Waste-Free Again: Ideas like Happy Hour are particularly good news for the environment. About one-third of food packaged and produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. That equals 1.3 billion tons a year, worth nearly $680 billion.


This volcano of food waste is not only an impossible challenge to dispose of and recycle, it is also a contributor to the climate crisis. In fact, between 8% to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions is related to food waste.


Direct Action: Finland isn't alone in finding such novel techniques to combat food waste. In Denmark, UK, Singapore, Indonesia etc. Are some countries where start-ups and companies have taken it upon themselves to tackle food waste.



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