Former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch who currently serves as President and CEO of Conscious Capitalism’s national organization has been exploring ways to turn wasted grocery store produce into nutritional meals. Meals that would be affordable to lower income individuals and families currently stuck buying empty fast food calories for much of their regular diet.
Roughly 40 percent of the produce in the grocery industry in the United States gets thrown away due to perfectly nutritious and safe produce passing it’s manufacturer’s sell-by date. It is food like this “or [it’s from] growers that have product that’s nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time.” Rauch stated in a September interview with NPR that is the target of this project.
Rauch is opening a brick-and-mortar store named the Daily Table in Dorchester, Massachusetts as the retail location for his idea and will utilize the food that’s currently thrown away early.
…food banks for years have done this. I might say, without naming the names, one of the leading, best regarded brands in the large, national, food industry — they basically recover the food within their stores, cook it up and put it out on their hot trays the next day. That’s the stuff that we’re going to be talking about. We’re talking about taking and recovering food. Most of what we offer will be fruits and vegetables that have a use-by date on it that’ll be several days out.
The biggest challenge seems to be clearing up the confusion about what the labeling means. Even the NPR interview headline incorrectly used the word expired in the headline when the food is simply past it’s sell-by date. The sell-by date is the manufacturer’s selected date the food should be removed from the shelf for esthetic reasons. It does not indicate the date that the safety of the food has actually expired.