(UR) Texas — Starbucks wouldn’t be the first corporation to make an attempt to end food waste in America, other entrepreneurs have been on the case for years now, but the company is teaming up with Food Donation Connection (FDC) and Feeding America to reduce the 33 millions tons of food that Americans waste every year while many still go hungry.
The program is called FoodShare. It allows well-meaning companies like Starbucks to donate leftover prepared meals to food banks around the country. More than 7,600 Starbucks locations in the U.S. will participate in the program. If Starbucks is anything like most restaurants, more than 10 percent of everything they sell ends up in the trash. That’s deplorable considering that 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children are considered ‘food-insecure’ in America — meaning they aren’t certain where or how they will get their next meal.
Brand manager for the Starbucks food team, Jane Maly, said in a press release Fortune cited:
“The challenge was finding a way to preserve the food’s quality during delivery. We focused on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavor of the surplus food, so when it reached a person in need, they could safely enjoy it.”
Starbucks has been working with FDC for years to give pastries away to the food insecure, and now they’ve figured out a way to save other perishables from another fate — being tossed in a can.
Starbucks says it aims to donate 100 percent of what is left over at participating stores, estimating it will be able to donate almost 5 million meals at the end of its first year participating in the FoodShare program.
The idea to share unused food came from within the lower ranks of the corporation. Partners who saw food being trashed that could help others, brought it to the attention of the corporate team. This is what allowed the change to happen. John Kelly, senior vice president of Starbucks Global Responsibility, Community, and Public Policy, said:
“Like many of our social impact initiatives, the innovation and inspiration comes from our partners who are volunteering in and contributing to their communities. They saw the need for us to do more, and find a way to use our scale to bring more nourishing and ready-to-eat meals to those in need.”
Hopefully, moves like this can translate to a global initiative. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption each year ends up in the trash — that’s 1.3 billion tons of food.
The idea to serve ‘wasted’ food has been around for decades, if not longer, though. New York’s City Harvest, for example, was started by soup kitchen volunteers in the early 1980s. When volunteers noticed that most chefs threw out potato skins the founder asked if they could save them and use them at soup kitchens for the homeless and hungry, turning them into nutritious meals.
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