Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Restaurant for Expired Food from Trader Joe's

Photo: Society of St. Andrew
The Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) has put together an interesting site that provides information and tracks the amount of food that is being wasted (even as we speak).  The site has information about consumer food waste, agricultural food waste and environmental food waste in America as well as global food waste.

Using a variety of independent studies, the SoSA food waste site estimates agricultural food waste at 40% to 50% and consumer food waste at 40%. According to figures provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, roughly 70 billion pounds of edible food is lost in the United States each year.

Some organizations like the Food Recovery Network and Feeding America have put together programs to address the problem. But there are also smaller-scale efforts, such as the one put together by Doug Ruch, the former president of Trader Joe's.  Ruch created the The Daily Table, a combination restaurant and grocery in Dorchester, Massachusetts, that sells only prepared items created with recently expired products obtained from Trader Joe's. According to Ruch, the restaurant, which is just outside of Boston, "takes recently expired food and whips it up into delicious meals that can compete in price with the burgers and fries sold at fast food chains like McDonald's."

"It's the idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities. It basically tries to utilize this 40 percent of this food that is wasted. This is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked, wholesome food that's thrown out by grocers, etc. ... at the end of the day because of the sell-by dates. Or [it's from] growers that have product that's nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time. [So we] bring this food down into a retail environment where it can become affordable nutrition," Ruch said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Read more about this interesting concept  in Change Generation, The Boston Globe, and NBC-Los Angeles

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