Preventing Waste vs. Eating Healthily: Is There a Conflict?

People need to learn how to eat better. Poor diet contributes to the two leading causes of death worldwide – heart disease and stroke – as well as a slew of other medical problems including obesity, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Without a doubt, promoting proper nutrition is one of the most important food policy focuses of our time. However, it is by no means the only issue.

I recently spoke with someone who is not entirely convinced of the importance of saving food. She understands the principle of preventing waste but cares far more about getting people to eat healthily. Her example: if a person were deciding between throwing away a half-eaten bag of potato chips or saving them, she’d say to throw them away. It’s not worth salvaging junk food that can wreak so much damage on our bodies, her logic goes. chips

As someone whose life’s mission is to fight food waste but also cares deeply about nutrition, I needed a moment to wrestle with this argument. Since I used to overeat in the name of preventing waste (here’s my reflection post about it), I know how the pretense of saving food can clash with healthy eating intentions. Many weight loss diets even explicitly say that people shouldn’t eat everything on their plates, since portion sizes tend to be excessively large. So, does trying to avoid waste mean making poor dietary choices? In a word, no. The keys are storage and smart decisions.

Back to the potato chip example: I say the eater should save the chips as leftovers. That way, the next time the person has a craving for salty, fatty food, he/she can have more chips from the bag, rather than buying a new bag (i.e. giving more money to junk food companies). Plus, with half the chips already eaten, the portion size is limited, whereas a brand new bag would present the temptation to devour all the chips at once. Alternatively, the remaining chips could be shared with friends or served at a party.

nutsBringing leftover junk food home seems like it just invites bad choices; but that’s where my “smart decisions” point comes in. Once food is in the home, it can lose some of its novelty, making it easier to moderate intake. Since the food will still be there tomorrow, there’s less temptation to overindulge now. Unhealthy cravings can be sated in moderation. Moreover, the root of the problem is buying potato chips in the first place. If you don’t want to consume so much sodium and fat, buy a healthier snack!

I realize my counterargument isn’t perfect, but neither is our food environment. Ideally, junk food wouldn’t be so prevalent, nor portion sizes so large, that we have to debate saving unhealthy food for later. Teaching people how to eat well can only go so far as long as we’re surrounded by unhealthy options.  Nevertheless, the pursuit of good nutrition does not have to undercut food waste reduction.

Busy summers

Dear readers,

Hokuma and I just wanted to issue a brief but sincere apology for the lack of posts over the last month. Between work and travel, we’ve both been very busy and haven’t found the time to generate meaningful content. However, we’ve got some exciting projects in the works that we will hopefully be able to start publicizing soon! And, naturally, we’ll be trying to get ourselves back on a weekly posting schedule.

In the meantime, we hope that you are enjoying your summers (or winters, in the southern hemisphere) and invite you to keep checking our Facebook page, where we have been better about regularly sharing interesting articles.

You’ll hear more from us soon!

Eva

National Spotlight: United Kingdom

Most recent estimate of annual food waste: 15 million tonnes. About 47,000 tonnes of food surplus are redistributed and 660,000 tonnes are used for animal feed production.

As food waste has gotten more and more global attention, Britain has consistently been a source of profound reports, inspirational practices, and innovative solutions aimed at combating the problem. The face of the British anti-waste movement is WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Plan) and its “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign that has been running since 2007. Founded in 2000, WRAP collaborates with all levels of government, businesses, community organizations, trade unions, and individuals to champion sustainable waste management. Its Courtauld 2025 Commitment has set 20% reduction targets for food waste and greenhouse gas intensity of food and drink (production, distribution, consumption, etc.) in the UK over the next 10 years.

UK wrap report
Image courtesy of WRAP

In 2015, WRAP created the Manufacturing and Retail Working Group to develop resources and undertake research projects to analyze and improve food waste prevention practices. Just last month, the group published its report examining the current waste levels and progress in the UK with accompanying recommendations for development. Among its findings, the research produced the nonprofit’s first-ever estimate of preventable waste from the UK manufacturing and retail sectors: 56% of the 1.9 million tonnes of food that was discarded could have been eaten.  Nonetheless, less than 5% of food production in the British retail and manufacturing sectors ends up as surplus or waste, which is quite commendable. Moreover, 47,000 tonnes of surplus food were redistributed in 2015, and 660,000 tonnes were used in animal feed production. While WRAP rightfully continues to push for improvement, the UK’s progress in preventing waste so far is by no means negligible.

The “Love Food, Hate Waste” campaign is geared towards consumers, teaching people how easy it is to prevent waste at the household level. Its website of food saving tools includes a recipe search engine to use up leftover ingredients, portion and up-to-2-week meal planners, and tons of storage, cooking, and shopping tips. In addition to these resources, the LFHW mobile app offers a kitchen inventory tool to help users keep track of the food they’ve bought. The campaign references British food waste statistics, but, naturally, the tips and tools are universally relevant and useful.

London

Another strong fighter in Britain’s food waste arena is ReFood, Europe’s largest food waste recycler. The corporation collects waste from retailers and producers across the UK and converts it into biogas, electricity, and fertilizer via anaerobic digestion, providing a clean, efficient method of food waste management. In 2013, ReFood launched Vision 2020, a step-by-step plan to help the food industry prepare for a total ban on food waste landfilling by the year 2020. Far from idealistic, the campaign’s acknowledges the financial and administrative difficulties of instituting a landfill ban and accordingly offers recommendations and assistance for developing the necessary infrastructure. Furthermore, it promotes food waste education, citing “Love Food, Hate Waste” by name. ReFood’s goal is to embrace food waste as a profitable resource.

As for the private sector: Britain’s largest supermarket, Tesco, has demonstrated an impressive commitment to preventing waste. In 2013, the corporation published an extensive report on the waste generated by products sold in its stores, disclosing its food waste statistics for the first time ever. Now, the retailer annually publishes food waste data for its UK franchise – which, sadly, saw a 4% increase in waste from 2015 to 2016. Still, Tesco has been working to eliminate wasteful practices, such as Buy One Get One Free offers on fruit and vegetables. The chain also hasn’t sent any food directly to landfills since 2009. Details on the store’s other efforts can be found here.

Last September, the Food Waste (Reduction) Bill was introduced to, among other things, establish national food waste reduction incentives and require large retailers and manufacturers to cut down their waste at least 30% by 2025. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation never made it out of the House of Commons – but it wasn’t the first time that food waste was on the government agenda, and it certainly won’t be the last. In 2011, for instance, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued date label guidance to the food industry so as to prevent the excess of caution and confusion that generates waste.

Jolly good show, UK!

Bite Sized Wisdom: A caramelized life

When standing in the kitchen, chopping onions and fighting back tears, it’s hard to imagine that this layered vegetable can be sweet. Yet, throw some into a pan with olive oil on low heat and you’ll witness magic in action.

The slow process of heating the onion breaks down its cell walls making them softer and sweeter. This process is called ‘pyrolysis’ and goes something like this:

  1. Heat breaks down chemical compounds of the cooked food. Since all food contains sugar, the heat breaks it down into smaller units leading to browning and sweetening.
  2. All living things, including plants, break down sugar for energy. Your average medium-sized onion contains 9 grams of sugar.
  3. Sugars in plants and our body can be found in various pairs. The cooking process breaks the pairs down from polysaccharides (couple) into monosaccharides (single).
  4. Since much of the cell structure is made up of starches, which are polysaccharides, the slow cooking process breaks down the wall structures of cells, releasing sugar, which then sweetness the food and softness its texture.

If you apply this sound logic to a bigger organism, like humans, this idea can teach us that in life “patience is a virtue”.

The famous Sufi poet, Rumi once used a chickpea metaphor to describe his enlightened life:

“The whole of my life
is summed up in these three phrases:
I used to be raw
Then I was cooked
Now,
I am on fire.”

Onions: red, brown, whole, peeled, sliced, rings.The thing about being cooked is that life makes you sweet, because you learn to handle the setbacks of life with an open heart and mind. And those who come in contact with you can learn this skill and apply it in their wn life.

Today our everyday lives are rushing past us at the speed of light. There is so much to accomplish, so much to do, so much to see that life eventually becomes a frenzy, filled with anxiety, demands and needs. By taking a slower approach and letting ourselves simmer in time it takes to accomplish goals will help us softly approach hardships.

Something simple as doing 10 minutes of yoga or meditation in the morning can make all the difference. And taking baby steps towards any big goal will yield progress and satisfaction. After all, what’s the point of rushing through life, shouldn’t it be enjoyed?

Here’s to caramelizing our onions in the kitchen and our lives outside of it.

Cheers!
Hokuma

How the Psychology of Eating Behavior Can Help Explain Food Waste

A blog-keeping note: the national spotlight series is by no means over! I am just going to intersperse other posts, like this one, when inspiration strikes.

Recently, I read a study by Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology that made me reflect more on how our eating behavior leads to waste. The experiment, published in 1982, tested how variety in the color, texture, and flavor of food in a meal influenced a person’s consumption and enjoyment. Only one of the sensory properties was changed in each round of the experiment while the other two were held constant. For instance, Smarties (a candy similar to M&M’s) were used to test the influence of color because they are uniform in texture and chocolate flavor.

I won’t recap the entire process and detailed findings of the experiment, but the general conclusion was that humans eat more when offered food in varying textures, colors, or flavors. So, if given a plate of only green Smarties, we will eat fewer than if we were given a plate of mixed-color Smarties. This indicates that there is a sensory-specific satiety effect: we stop eating sooner when eating a ‘plain’ meal than when our senses are variously stimulated by a meal, even if there is no difference in the nutrition of the food to influence our actual fullness.

Another conclusion of the experiment was that “the degree of pleasantness of a food may affect whether a food will be selected for ingestion, but the amount actually ingested will then depend to a considerable extent on the satiating power of that particular food.” In other words, knowing that we like a food makes us more likely to choose to eat it but does not necessarily mean that we will eat more of it, especially if it is something filling. This is the part of the report that got me thinking about waste:

Put this effect in the context of a buffet, dining hall, or any other smorgasbord scenario where we are presented with an abundance of options. Many people erroneously start filling their plates or trays before having seen all of the available foods. When they then come across a favorite food of theirs, they add a large portion of that to their meal because they know they are going to enjoy it. They don’t generally think about how much other food they already have; they prioritize the favorite and end up with an extra large portion.

buffetAssuming they recognize their satiety (which is often difficult to do, leading to overeating), the eaters will not finish all of the food that they have taken. Whether the diners scarfed down their favorite food first or tried to save the best for last, some remnants of the superportion will be left. Of course, leftovers can be given to a friend or taken home in a doggy-bag, yet the sad truth of the matter is that many people leave the food to be thrown out. I don’t have any statistics to back it up, but I believe that people are more likely to bring home leftovers from a meal paid for a la carte than in a buffet-type setting because they feel more motivated to get their money’s worth. In restaurants, you think, “I spent $12 on that pizza, so those last three slices are $4!” When you pay a flat rate for a self-serve meal, though, you pay for ‘all you can eat,’ which is achieved once you are full.

It’s no surprise that presenting people with an abundance of food, especially food they know they like, can easily lead to waste. Nor is it shocking to read that our eating behavior is influenced by psychological at least as much as by physiological and nutritional factors. Still, the study makes an interesting read to explain the extent of this influence and reflect on its role in issues like food waste or obesity.

-Eva

National Spotlight: South Korea

Most recent estimate of annual food waste: 4.82 million tonnes in 2014

South Korea is home to one of the world’s most innovative national strategies for fighting food waste: charging its inhabitants to dispose of food waste. To use organic waste disposal bins, residents have to either pay per garbage bag or, as of 2012, according to the weight of their waste (explained below). This year alone, the price of the specialty garbage bags has gone up 30% to provide extra incentive to reduce household waste.

koreaThe “volume-based waste fee” aka pay per trash bag system was introduced in 1995. Within 10 years of the system’s implementation, South Korea’s recycling rate had increased from 15.4% to almost 50%, according to a policy bulletin from the Ministry of Environment in 2006. The government has continued to include food waste as its pursued further recycling reforms, including banning urban-generated food waste from landfills in 2005 and announcing the RFID system in 2012. Under the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, residents have to swipe special ID cards to open mechanized disposal bins so that they can throw out their waste. With each transaction, the bin recalculates the weight of its contents, and the disposer is billed once a month according to his or her waste contribution.

Unsurprisingly, the success of these measures over just a couple years has received international praise. According to the Strait Times, daily aggregate food waste in Seoul decreased from 3,300 tonnes to 3,181 tonnes between 2012 and 2014, and the city government is aiming to cut that to 2,318 tonnes per day by 2018. Household and restaurant food waste have fallen by 30% and 40%, respectively, PSFK reported earlier this month.

korea food2The Korean government’s focus on food waste came after years of ecological negligence, for lack of a better term. Even until 2013, most of the country’s organic waste was processed in sewage plants and then dumped into the ocean. The ‘gray water’ produced by the high liquid content of the waste devastated coastal marine life and even began leaching into soil. Although the government joined the London Convention against marine pollution in 1993, the ban on food wastewater dumping wasn’t enacted until 20 years later. Fortunately, most food waste today is recycled into compost, animal feed, or biofuel, largely thanks to government subsidies to those recycling facilities.

A final fun fact: in response to the anti-food waste trend, the company Smart Cara has started manufacturing domestic food waste processors. The appliances grind food waste into a powder that can be utilized as fertilizer or cooking fuel. With the rising fees for residential food waste disposal, sales of the processors tripled between 2013 and 2015 and continue to climb.

Kudos, Korea! 음식물 쓰레기에없는 말.

-Eva

 

Other consulted sources:

South Korea: Ban on Dumping of Food Wastewater in the Ocean Comes into Force (Library of Congress)

South Korea: Cutting Back on Food Waste (Pulitzer Center)

South Korea’s food waste reduction policies (Innovation Seeds)

Bite sized wisdom: forgetting to breathe

Before our ancestors left footprints on the ground, they surfed currents of our oceans. In the deep blue darkness they breathed, lived and thrived. Little did they know that millions of years later their predecessors will destroy their homes.

How exactly? A study published in the Global Biogeochemical Cycles detected that by 2030 the worlds oceans will experience a loss in oxygen. This means that fish stocks will die as it gets harder to breathe. Certain parts of the oceans will become barren.

The scary part is that it’s nothing new. We know that 250 million years ago, 90% of Earth’s species were killed in the ‘Great Dying‘. Those events were linked to low levels of oxygen in oceans. While the Earth did recover, it took an entire five million years for oxygen levels to be replenished.

Unfortunately, our love for growth is causing climate change and global warming. While we develop our shores, we also kill forests, raise temperatures and utilize resources like we won’t need them tomorrow.

As Hermes Trismegistus once said “As above, so below”. If our oceans are a mirror, then they’re definitely reflecting our ugliness. Modern civilization is wrecking havoc on Earth. Our hunger for more raises temperatures and leads to mass extinctions.

deepocean.oxygen.breathe.evolution.nature.destruction.change.saynotofoodwaste.2After millions of years of evolution, a recovery and new beginnings, we are back to where we started – on the verge of a new ‘Great Dying’. Can these findings be a call to action or are we too far gone to care?

Regardless, we must try to reverse the course of history. However small the action or the change, we need to be headed in that direction. Whether it means going vegetarian for a month, buying locally grown or organic, starting somewhere is a good idea.

Since no man is an island, having a team around you to inspire and motivate might help. For me, that team is made of like-minded individuals. Entrepreneurs, doers, appreciators of simplicity, and believers in the magic of nature. These individuals understand that Earth is our home. Not just the shores, but also the oceans. Though we don’t live in the waters anymore, we still need them.

We need to be realistic, but should stay optimistic. To help change our oceans, we must start by improving things on land: planting more vegetation and lowering CO2 emissions. Wasting less food and water, and keeping our soils rich in nutrients to support growth.

If you have tips to share, please do. We need a lot of people who care!
In the meantime, just keep swimming, just keep breathing.

Cheers to finding our inner Nemo!
Hokuma

National Spotlight: France

Most recent estimate of annual food waste: 7.1 million tons, equivalent to roughly 140,000 tons per resident

ParisIn March 2016, France became the first country in the world to place a national ban on food waste in supermarkets*. Food that is considered “unsaleable” but still safe to eat (ex. approaching its sell by or best by date) must now be donated to food banks and charities, and stores that fail to comply will face hefty fines of €3,750. The donation process from the factories to food banks has also been greatly simplified, but sanitary standards for handling and distribution still stand, of course. Moreover, supermarkets will no longer be allowed to deliberately taint discarded food, which is a common tactic to ward off freegans and dumpster-divers. Did I mention that the French senate passed this bill unanimously?!

While such legislation would be impressive in any country, it is especially interesting that the anti-food waste movement took one of its biggest steps in France, the fourth worst food waste offender in the EU. The fact that 67% of the country’s waste occurs at the consumer level indicates that a nationwide change of mentality, not just institutional reform, is needed. Fortunately, the last few years have seen France turn its attention to addressing its jarring waste statistics. In response to mounting concerns about poverty and the environment, the National Pact Against Food Waste was established in 2013 with the goal of eliminating 50% of the country’s waste by 2025.

One instance of government and private sector intervention has been the doggy-bag movement. In 2014, the New York Times reported that the Ministry of Agriculture had begun collaborating with restaurants in south-central France on a promotional campaign to encourage diners to save restaurant leftovers – a practice traditionally shunned by the French. In addition to the common prejudice of leftovers being a sign of lower-class desperation and/or stinginess, the French have held a stigma that views doggy-bags as an American phenomenon based on oversized portions. Even chefs who support the doggy-bag have commented that food should be good enough and offered in reasonable enough quantities that diners finish everything on their plates. To combat anti-leftovers aversions, the campaign refers to ‘gourmet bags’ for food remainders and adopted the tag line, “It’s so good, I’ll finish it at home!” Of course, the purpose was to raise awareness of food waste in general, and there is nothing wrong with finishing a meal in the first sitting.france doggy bag

The movement has since spread to the rest of the country. Last year, 95% of 2,700 survey respondents said that they would be willing to take restaurant leftovers home. That March, the company TakeAway entered into an agreement with the Union of Hotel Professionals to provide restaurants with microwave-friendly containers and even special bags for unfinished bottles of wine. Finally, to ring in 2016, a law came into effect requiring restaurants to provide customers with doggy-bags upon request. Slowly but surely, the French are coming around to preserving the food that they are already so famous for revering.

A smaller-scale sign of the changing times in France is Partage ton Frigo (Share Your Fridge), a network of communal refrigerators started in 2013. The website and app allow people to share and find excess food that has been, for example, rescued after a catered event or left over after a family feast. Users can either keep the food at home and post an ad offering it to neighbors or can leave the food (with a note listing their name and the date) in a public fridge for anyone to come and enjoy.

Way to take charge, France! Dites non aux gaspillage alimentaire.

-Eva

*The law specifically targets stores that are at least 400m².

Straight from the Source – Reflections on Sustainable Food

What is a sustainable food system? 

Often sustainable food systems and local food systems are considered to be the same thing. They’re not. The journey food takes from farm to table is complex and requires coordination at every scale, from local to global.

Local food has its place. There are programs in Kenya, written up by Rockefeller Foundation, that describe the role local food growing plays in reducing local unemployment and boosting secure access to food. There are great stories of community gardens in cities around the world that provide healthy fruits and veg for local residents. There are reams of unused land in cities slated for development, somewhere in the distant future, which could be used for raised bed gardens to grow local food at no detriment to the planned commercial projects. These opportunities need to be recognized and acted on.

On the other hand, there are returns to “economies of scale” that it make it cheaper, and sometimes more energy efficient, to process a large amount of things in one place. That might mean that it is more resource efficient to grow things far away from a city than it would be for everyone to grow their own.

The trend towards economies of scale in American-agriculture-gone-global have led to people feeling completely estranged from their food. And the “just-in-time” supply chain management principles that have been applied to food supply mean that most cities have very little storage of fresh food. Should there be a large scale disruption to the supply chain – such as what happened in New York City during Hurricane Sandy– cities can easily be left without food.

saynotofoodwaste.supplychain.food.sustainable.green.future.nowaste.2More research is needed to identify and publicize opportunities for efficient local food growth. At the same time, we need to shed light on the supply chains that bring us food from abroad and alerts us to vulnerabilities in those supply chains.

Where does our food come from? 

Most of the time, this is a question that many people can’t answer. But the answer matters, and may be a matter of life and death. The Guardian and other news sources uncovered that slave labor was used to ruthlessly trawl the oceans to provide shrimp feed, devastating both the people and the environment involved. We are forced to remember that every dollar is a vote, and our buying decisions affect what type of world we live in.

A company called Provenance is developing a methodology that companies could use to keep auditable records of their supply chains, and communicate with the public who has touched their products on their way to market. This will help us understand the global implications of the cheap food we enjoy, and give people agency in choosing which business practices they will support with their money.

On the local front is Caleb Harper, head of MIT’s Open Agriculture movement, who proposes that we open-source our knowledge of how to grow food. If his food computers are built and distributed through the country, there is the potential to overhaul our way of educating young people about where food comes from and what factors help it to thrive.

And of course no discussion of food sustainability is complete without a serious discussion of how we deal with food waste. Organizations such as the Food Recovery Network and Imperfect Produce are working to connect food that would go to waste with hungry people. It only makes sense.

Choose with your Chompers

These are important ideas to have on the table. The way forward is not clear, but we can each play our part by thinking and talking about the supply chain of our food. Keep an eye out for innovative ideas like the Food Recovery Network and support them when you can. And think twice about why your chicken is so cheap.

By Nathan Suberi





National Spotlight: Denmark

Welcome to the inaugural post of my anti-food waste travel guide! Spending Easter weekend in Copenhagen and getting a glimpse into Danish food culture has inspired me to start a new (non-continuous) series of posts highlighting countries and nations taking exemplary measures against food waste. With enough promotion and consumer support, good practices from anywhere in the world can stimulate change in other countries. Since food waste is a global problem, the fight against it requires global effort.

Denmark

Most recent estimate of annual food waste: 700,000 tons, worth 11.6 billion kroner (about $1.7 billion)

CopenhagenThis small Scandinavian kingdom was named the ‘European leader in the fight against food waste’ in 2015. In just five years, Denmark was able to reduce its domestic food waste by 25%, according to the Danish Agricultural & Food Council. This achievement was made possible through efforts by the state, NGOs, and private sector.

Like much of northern Europe, Denmark is strongly committed to recycling. Among the goals set in its 2013 plan ‘Denmark Without Waste – Recycle More, Incinerate Less,’ the government pledged to increase the amount of organic waste recycled from the service sector from 17% to 60% by 2018. Household waste, which includes 260,000 tons of food each year, was also targeted in the report so that at least half would be recycled annually by 2022. To complement these objectives, the country is going to continue to focus on biogas (derived from manure and food waste) as a clean alternative fuel source. Daka Refood, for instance, collects food waste from restaurants, supermarkets, schools, manufacturers, etc. to use directly in animal feed or to convert into biogas and, in the case of used cooking oil, biodiesel. In addition to preventing the CO2 emissions otherwise generated by incineration, biogasification allows nutrients like phosphorous from organic waste to be used in fertilizer.

Another way the Danes encourage eco-friendly waste treatment is through bans and fines on landfilling. The European Environment Agency reported that in 2010 only 4% of Denmark’s waste ended up in landfills!

WeFood DenmarkArguably the most famous Danish food waste-fighting initiative, though, is WeFood, the new so-called social supermarket that deliberately sells products considered unsaleable by mainstream grocers. From ‘expired’ packaged goods to visually-imperfect produce, the perfectly edible food is being sold at discounted prices because it would otherwise be discarded. Naturally, this attracts low-income consumers, but NPR reported that most customers are actually shopping there to make a political statement against food industry wastefulness.

A similar anti-food waste pioneer is Rub & Stub, the restaurant whose menu changes daily based on donated ingredients. The volunteer chefs design meals to use excess food from Food Bank Copenhagen, grocers, farmers, food cooperatives, and bakeries, which accounts for almost one third of the restaurant’s food supply. As in WeFood, the donations are totally safe to eat but have been rejected by mainstream food retail for mainly aesthetic reasons.

Aside from word of mouth, locals as well as tourists in Denmark can find establishments like WeFood and Rub & Stub through YourLocal. The app was developed by two Copenhagen Business School students who wanted to create a platform to show people where they could find surplus food that would be destined for the dumpster. Grocery stores registered with the app simply indicate what products are nearing their sell-by dates and offer them at discounted prices. Released in May 2015, YourLocal has already reached more than 50,000 consumers, is collaborating with over 400 stores, and is spreading from its origin in Copenhagen to other Danish cities.

As a last fun fact, one of Denmark’s most popular desserts, romkugler aka rum truffles, originated as a way to use leftover baked goods! Bakers, concerned that their unsold breads, muffins, or cakes would start to taste stale, combined the leftovers with jam, rum, and chocolate into delicious little balls, typically rolled in chopped nuts or coconut. Check out an easy recipe here.

Well done, Denmark! Sig nej madspild.

-Eva