Starbucks has announced its plans to combat food waste, pledging to donate 100 percent of leftover food from 7,600 stores across the country to food banks. The program, known as FoodShare, has a goal of providing nearly five million meals to the needy in its first year.
Starbucks intends to work with food collection group Food Donation Connection (FDC) and non-profit Feeding America to make this possible.
While Starbucks has already worked with FDC since 2010 to donate leftover baked goods, Starbucks sought to donate even more of its food with this new initiative.
"The challenge was finding a way to preserve the food’s quality during delivery," said Starbucks Food team brand manager, Jane Maly. "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 worked with FDC to create a safe plan for picking up leftover food in refrigerated vans. The food will be delivered to food banks and rescue agencies within 24 hours of pickup.
"This food is going to make a difference, whether it’s a child not going hungry for the night or a family that’s able to enjoy a protein plate that they would not have otherwise been able to afford at Starbucks," Starbucks store manager Kienan McFadden said in a statement. "Rescuing food in this way from being thrown away will change lives."
Feeding America estimates that 70 billion pounds of food is wasted in America every year and that about 15 percent of Americans live in food-insecure households.
"We applaud Starbucks for its leadership and commitment to ending hunger. Their program will have a tremendous impact in communities, and it is also a testament of how we can work together to help more individuals and families achieve food security," said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America.
Legislation has recently been proposed to combat this endemic food waste by Assemblyman David Chiu. Chiu has suggested a change to expiration dates on food, as current sell-by dates are determined not by the federal government but by individual manufacturers, and consumers therefore often throw away safe food.
“This addresses the everyday experience that we all have, when we look at our refrigerator at dozens of products and have to decide if we should throw out products that may still be good but have different expiration labels,” Chiu told SFGate.
Starbucks joins Chipotle, KFC, Taco Bell, and Olive Garden in donating at least a portion of surplus food to the needy.
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