Buying your own cow?
The United Nations Environment program found that over one third of food produced for human consumption worldwide is not consumed (which is estimated to be around 1.3 billion tons of food); either produce is lost due to inefficient processes or simply by people throwing away food. This is not only a huge waste, it also poses several problems such as waste of resources and growing landfills emitting large quantities of methane gas into our atmosphere.
Buying a cow
As these are some pretty shocking facts, it seems time for people to become more aware of how much and what they are eating. The website http://www.koopeenkoe.nl offers exactly that: it is an initiative where one can buy a part of a cow, which translates to about 7.2 kilos of beef produce. The cow will be butchered only when circa 30 people purchased to assure that the cow is divided equally. Furthermore, they uphold a nose-to-tail butchering philosophy to ensure nothing of the animal goes to waste while processing it; all the meat is processed, the bones are used to produce glue, and all of the skin is made into leather. This initiative effectively addresses two problems mentioned above; the butchering process is made more efficient which creates less waste in the beginning of the value chain, and customers are more conscientious of the food they buy, resulting in them wasting less.
Why people are interested
A range or reasons can be found why this initiative is interesting for people. The first has to do with price; since the grocery store is disintermediated and the meat goes straight from the farmer/butcher to the buyer, the price is kept relatively low. Second, the consumer’s interest comes from knowledge; one knows the quality of the meat is higher as it is only fed biological food, and one knows the cow had a good life. Next to that, the meat is completely traceable to its source.
Research shows that one fifth of each household in the UK orders groceries online, and that a growth of around 18 percent can be expected. As people grow more conscientious about what they are eating and where their food is coming from, it can be expected that initiatives such as koopeenkoe.nl will become more the norm than the exception. More specific, cross-sided positive network effects can be expected; as more people are interested in buying better quality food online, more farmers will join such initiatives. It can also be anticipated that more initiatives will be set up for not only different types of meat (such as pork), but for different foods in general (e.g. vegetables). Lastly, one is left wondering; what will be the reaction of ‘normal’ grocery stores?