Waste Not, Want Not. Really. Part Two.

New strides are being made to cut back on food waste!

We at Lust for Cooking rejoice!

As we mentioned in our previous installment on food waste (to catch up, mustard, click here), there are two major holes in the system where perfectly good food slips through our fingers and into the landfills: The Retail and The Consumer. In our last post, we focused a great deal on what you, as the consumer, can do to help close this gap. In this installment we will look at some new developments in the retail world.

Denmark

Denmark has opened a new, non-profit grocery store, WeFood, that exclusively sells food that would otherwise have been thrown out. How does that even make sense? Well, the thing is, there are a lot of reasons, as NPR point out, that a grocery store would toss perfectly good food:

“Those items might include treats for a holiday that happened last week, a ripped box of cornflakes, plain white rice mislabeled as basmati, or anything nearing its expiration date.”

Through the tireless efforts of a volunteer force, those food items are located and transported back to WeFood, and then sold at a heavily discounted rate. But the store is so popular, across economic borders, that the sheer logistics of keeping the shelves stocked has become daunting. But they are optimistic that these details will become easier as relationships are established with other retailers. Still, as the Danes are passionate about conserving food waste (They’ve managed to cut their country’s food waste by 25%. No small feat.), lines are forming out the door.

Boston

A similar store has opened up in the Boston area as well. Daily Table was established by the former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch. They receive food donated by wholesalers and markets alike, making the prices substantially lower than other stores in the Boston area.

In addition to selling groceries they also sell prepared meals. The menu changes each day, as it is dependent upon what food is donated, but that way they can be sure that all the food that comes in goes to use.

Unlike WeFood in Denmark, Daily Table does not entirely rely on volunteers, but it still struggles with the logistics of locating donors and transporting the food.  If the experiment is successful they home to expand to other areas.

New York

Logistics seem to be the key issue for those who are trying to make surplus food available to those who need it. That’s where Rescuing Leftover Cuisine comes in.  They are a non-profit based in New York but also operating in 11 additional cities. Their entire purpose is to solve these logistical issues through such services as “food waste consulting, excess food delivery, co-branding services, and tax credit assistance.” With their services, an organization like WeFood or Daily Table can operate smoothly and at low cost.

Keep up the good work. We at Lust for Cooking salute you!

For more facts on food waste, and how to prevent it, check out this Australian based (and similarly titled) infographic.

Featured image provided by Pixabay.

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3 thoughts on “Waste Not, Want Not. Really. Part Two.”

  1. Years ago, I worked at Food Network and was working on a special called “The Big Waste.” We have Bobby Flay dumpster diving and Alex Guarnaschelli near tears over the fruits wasted from an orchard. Then they had to cook what they could salvage. The show went over like a lead balloon. They are a lot of reasons the show went unnoticed ;( but it was progressive at the time to do anything other than talk about how to make food. The American food culture is starting to shift and projects like yours are a big part of the positive direction. Keep going! Keep writing and keep shedding light on a very real, very upsetting issue.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. You’re right, it is a topic that seems to have little coverage, and yet we find there is so much to talk about. Full steam ahead!

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