“We save excess food that is just before or after the best before date, or does not meet the norm.”
In a world where 690 million people go to bed hungry every night, it’s hard to imagine that roughly one-third of the food we produce actually ends up going to waste.
With numbers that high, it isn’t enough to tell people to finish their food at dinner, or to give excess to the less fortunate (although I certainly encourage people to do both!)
No. What we need is large-scale action.
Lucky for us, one German supermarket chain has decided to lead the way, while making quality food cheaper and more accessible than ever before!
Here’s how you can cut your food costs to as little as €5.00 a day in Berlin with SirPlus!
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As anyone who’s travelled through Europe knows, the cost of living can be quite overwhelming.
From accommodation, to transit, to sightseeing, the expenses one comes across might turn an amazing experience into a very limited, and very expensive, one.
But what if I told you that, in Berlin, there’s a way you can cut your food expenses by up to 86% on each food item you buy?
If your answer is, “Toba, that sounds too good to be true,” then you’ve probably never heard of SirPlus!
SirPlus, Berlin’s food waste supermarket
The food waste problem is one that has always been very close to my heart.
I’ve made countless videos on surplus and repurposed foods in an effort to raise awareness, and to show people what they can do to support the cause while also cutting their daily food expenditure.
And while there are a lot of organizations and businesses that contribute to solving this issue, SirPlus is the first food waste supermarket I’ve found that bases its whole business model on selling food that would have otherwise been thrown away!
What’s with all the waste?
People tend to blame supermarkets for the amount of food that goes to waste in our society. But, truthfully, the supermarket’s main job is to supply or fulfil the consumer’s demand.
We, the customers, are the ones who tell the supermarkets (be it directly or indirectly) which products to stock, and which to reject.
We like our straight carrots, our unblemished fruit, and dentless cans. So the supermarkets do their best to give us what we want.
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Let’s say you have two lemons. Both are ripe, and perfectly fine to eat, but one is shaped like your typical lemon, and the other is shaped like . . . something else entirely.
Most people would probably buy the “normal” shaped lemon, leaving its stranger companion to go to waste.
Suppliers and manufacturers are very aware of this, and try to anticipate the customers’ preferences well before the products are handed-off to the supermarkets.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to lemons.
In the U.K. alone, an estimated £2, 000, 000, 000 worth of food is wasted every year—30% of which is wasted by the wholesale food industry (unfortunately, the rest is thrown out by us.)
That’s £600, 000, 000 worth of food!
So, what SirPlus does is they take the food from the manufacturers that is still alright for customer consumption and then sell those products at majorly discounted prices. Keep in mind, this food is perfectly edible.
Sometimes they do this because the food isn’t visually appealing, as mentioned before. But it can also happen due to less-than perfect packaging, or incorrect labelling. And, just in case, if the integrity of the food is ever in question, SirPlus will actually call in a team of scientists to evaluate it.
The best part about this way of doing business is, not only does it help people cut costs of living, but it also addresses the very serious environmental issues that come with food waste in general!
How much money can I save?
I really wanted to find out exactly how much money a person could save by shopping at one of these SirPlus outlets, so I bought five items from a SirPlus and compared them to the exact same items at a regular “low cost” outlet. Here’s what I found:
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- Soy Milk: €1.34
- Pringles: €0.48
- Yogurt: €0.78
- Pack of Kiwis: €1.97
- Cup of porridge: €0.77
Buying all these items at a SirPlus outlet came to a total of €5.34.
While purchasing these exact same items, at what is typically considered to be a “cheap” or “low-end” supermarket, cost me a total of €8.77. That’s a total savings of €3.42!
This might not seem like a lot, but trust me, it adds up.
For example, if this was how much you ate everyday (and we pretended that these were completely normal items for a person to eat everyday) then after a month of shopping at a “cheap” supermarket you will have spent €263.10. Whereas if you were to shop at a SirPlus supermarket, you will have only spent €160.02.
That’s a whopping €103.08 difference!
And as if that wasn’t enough, SirPlus will actually deliver their food to you if you order through their website sirplus.de. Unfortunately, the drawback is that they will only send you a random assortment of products. So, maybe not the best option if you’re a picky eater!
What does the future of food waste have in store for us?
I have to say, Germany has really left an impression on me during my time here. I’m amazed and inspired by their efforts to reduce food waste, recycle [link to Pfand article], and raise awareness about issues of sustainability.
It’s estimated that SirPlus manages to save around 2,000 tons of food waste a year, and I think we can expect this number to increase as their company grows, and their style of business becomes more popular.
Already, we’ve seen similar stores open in the UK and Italy.
But let’s not wait for these companies and organizations to do all the heavy lifting.
At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We have one home, one planet, and, really, we only get one shot. The way we take care of it will determine our futures.
It starts with the choices we make, the products we buy, and the ways in which they impact the only home we have.
With outlets like SirPlus joining the fray, you get to save your money and the planet.
I’d say that’s a pretty good start!
If saving money in a sustainable way is something you’re interested in, check out my YouTube channel here! If you move through networks of like-minded people, don’t forget to spread the word, and share the love!