I only have to imagine how much food is being thrown away on a daily base for the simple reason that the expiration date tells you to do so – honestly, it bothers me in a big way. It makes me nauseous, to tell you the truth. Okay, so I don’t want to buy rancid nuts or moldy chocolate either just because they were doing overtime on a shelf. In that sense the expiration date does offer a certain protection for the consumer, but – think about it – perhaps even more so for the manufacturer? Because, if you chuck more, you can sell more, right? (Even, if the product is actually perfectly fine….) Just take a look at Himalayan crystal salt, for example – it is 200 to 250 million years old – but when you see it on the shelf of a store, its goodness expires apparently after a couple months….
I can still remember the times before expiration dates became law. Yes, that was a while ago. You trusted that your grocer was the honest kind and didn’t scheme to take advantage of you. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t last long in his business, that’s for sure. It’s harder to trust a supermarket chain, isn’t it?
There is a young woman from Berlin, named Lena Becker (www.restlos-glücklich.com), who truly had a stroke of genius. Her idea is to “save” grocery items that can’t be sold on the regular market because their appearance (shape, color and size) does not fit the norm. Consider that, in Germany alone, there are tons of grocery items that are being thrown away by the supermarkets just because they are labeled wrong or simply because the expiration date is about to pass. To this add German households that get rid of close to 82 kg (round that up to 181 lbs.) of food per year – you get the picture.
So here is another great idea: Nina and her team are planning to open a restaurant which will use exclusively food items that have been “saved”, from organic (if possible), local and seasonal production. Actually, something like this could be more than “just” a restaurant – a place where people of like mind, who care about taking action against senseless wasting, can brainstorm and cultivate their ideas.
Isn’t that genius? I consider it as a sign, however small, that the winds of change are blowing: they are bringing fresh and positive thinking into arenas that have become stale and rigid. This is a start, of course. Much more is needed, but you’ve always got to start somewhere. And again, the (grown up) “children of the New Age” are front and center when it comes to action!