Food waste is a huge problem. According to the United Nations nearly half of all fruit & vegetables produced globally are wasted each year, whilst the United Nations Environment Programme says that in the United States one third of all food produced is wasted each year, to a value of €32.5 billion. It is also estimated that about half of water used to produce this food goes to waste as well, with agriculture being the largest human use of water. Meanwhile within the European Union around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated each year with associated costs estimated to be €143 billion according to the European Commission. All this while there are millions of people around the word struggling each day to access and afford adequate food supplies.
Of the many issues facing humankind today, food wastage really does seem like a problem we should be able to solve. Surely it is not so complicated that we can’t at least seriously reduce it? Happy Hours Market certainly agrees, and is helping the people of Brussels (and from the 3rd May Namur too) to do exactly that, their mission being to ‘end food waste and reduce the cost of food’.
1. What is Happy Hours Market?
Since 2019, Happy Hours Market has been fighting food waste in Brussels by offering a new management system for unsold products. Using a clever distribution network, they help to prevent unsold products (85% of which are usually thrown away) from both supermarkets and distributors from ending up as waste, by selling them and delivering to food banks free of charge every day. Through this great initiative, Happy Hours Market works with 27 stores, brands and distributors to save over 1000 kg of fresh produce every day with 70% of unsold items being distributed to charities.
2. How does it work?
Every evening, between 7:30 pm and 9 pm, unsold items from nearby stores are available at half price on the Happy Hours Market website and mobile app. Customers and supporters or ‘Happiers’ registered in Brussels (currently over 10,000) can browse and purchase what they want and collect from their nearest ‘Happy Truck’ sale point (shown by an interactive map online), getting their shopping half price and fighting food waste at the same time. It’s the perfect combination, so why not give it a go?