Unsold food at Starbucks is heading to food banks. The coffee shop chain has pledged to donate 100 percent of its surplus stock that’s still safe to eat to food banks.
Starbucks has taken steps to ensure all of the food that what wasn’t sold at the end of the day will be sent to charities and institutions that feed the vulnerable and hungry section of the society. The company announced Tuesday it plans to donate a 100 percent of unsold food or surplus stock.
Starbucks will transfer the unsold food to charities through a new initiative called FoodShare. Working in association with nonprofit organization Feeding America and Food Donation Connection, the coffee giant will gradually connect all of 7,600 U.S. stores to the donation initiative and donate its unsold food that’s still safe to eat using special processes.
What food products is Starbucks planning to donate? As indicated by the company, all of its unsold stock will picked up from Starbucks stores each day and redistributed to food banks, reported Mashable. Ensuring perishable food is still safe to eat during is a difficult endeavor, especially after the pre-prepared food has been sitting inside the stores for the entire day. Hence, special refrigerated trucks are expected to show up at each of the 7,600 stores, swiftly load up all unsold perishable food, and deliver it to food banks. Speaking about the initiative, Cliff Burrows, group president of Starbucks U.S. and Americas, said the following in an announcement on Starbucks’ website.
“Our hope is by taking this first step, other companies will see the possibility for their participation and together we will make great strides in combating hunger. FoodShare will not only make our partners proud, but once again will allow us to live our values.”
The unsold food will include breakfast sandwiches, paninis, salads and the company’s signature “bistro boxes,” which are essentially an entire prepackaged meal that’s filled with delectable snacks like vegetables and hummus, fruit and wraps. While these are lip-smacking delicacies, they have a very limited shelf-life and would have otherwise been thrown out at the end of the day.
The problem of food wastage is very acute. In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that, every year, the world blatantly discards about 1.3 billion tons of food. Considering just the United States, an average American citizen throws out roughly 20 pounds of food, which cumulatively amounts to 30 million tons of food being wasted. This food enters the waste stream, and the only way people can salvage some of it is by a rapidly rising practice called “dumpster diving.”
On the other hand, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 50 million Americans face hunger every single day. The initiative by Starbucks is a welcome change in food corporations that take excessive measures to discourage people from raiding dumpsters that contain food that’s still safe to eat, but has been discarded. While some lock up the bins until waste collection agencies pick up the waste, others have been known to pour bleach over the discarded food to ensure it isn’t touched.
By donating unsold food to charities, Starbucks is trying to reduce its environmental footprint, since the food will be eaten instead of heading to a landfill. Food that ends up in landfill starts to decompose and releases methane gas, which needless to say contributes to ever-increasing pollution.
The voluntary decision to transfer unsold food to charities was spearheaded by Tesco. Incidentally, European countries like France and Italy have been formulating laws that mandate companies to transfer the surplus stock to charities and food banks. With such focused efforts to stem food wastage, many from the vulnerable sections of the society could benefit.
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