Today’s Solutions: April 12, 2024

A well-known discount supermarket in Germany is taking a bold move toward encouraging sustainability with a revolutionary project. The “wahre Kosten” or “real costs” campaign seeks to raise awareness on the hidden environmental and health costs connected with particular food products. 

The supermarket chain Penny is hiking up the prices of nine products in all 2,150 branches in collaboration with experts from the Nuremberg Institute of Technology and the University of Greifswald so that they represent the true cost on the environment and people’s well-being.

Real-cost pricing: Discovering the true costs of food production

The experiment began on the 31st of July and ended this past Saturday, the 5th of August. It included a wide range of foodstuffs, including dairy and meat products, as well as vegan alternatives. Prices for wiener sausages, mozzarella, and fruit yogurt rose dramatically in order to reflect their true impact on soil, climate, water use, and health. 

For example, the expense of climate-harming emissions, soil damage from intensive farming, pesticide use, and groundwater pollution has increased the price of popular maasdamer cheese by 94 percent, and wiener sausages have increased from €3.19 to €6.01.

Regarding the cheese, the scientists calculated that the true cost of cheese includes 85 cents for climate-harming emissions like methane and CO2, 76 cents for soil damage caused by intensive farming and animal feed production, 63 cents for pesticides’ impact on farmer health, and 10 cents for groundwater pollution caused by fertilizer use.

Profits with a mission: Promoting sustainable agriculture

Rather than pocketing the extra cash earned by the campaign, the grocer announced that it will donate all extra proceeds to charity. Excess revenues will be donated to Zukunftsbauer, a nonprofit that assists family-run farms in Alpine regions facing challenges owing to low returns and financial difficulties. The initiative hopes to develop sustainable farming practices and a more balanced food production system by assisting small farmers.

The “wahre Kosten” campaign is an important step in making informed and responsible grocery shopping decisions. This German supermarket is paving the road for a more sustainable future by raising awareness about the true environmental and health costs of food production. We have the capacity to influence positive change as customers by supporting projects like this and demanding fair pricing that represents the true impact of the things we buy. Together, we can create a healthier, more environmentally conscious food system for future generations.



We are highlighting this piece as part of our annual “Best Of” roundup of articles published at The Optimist Daily this year. Today’s focus is on the top Business solutions of 2023.

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