Thursday, November 21, 2013

Trader Joe's Ex-President Plans Market to Prevent Food Waste

Trader Joe's Ex-President Plans Market to Prevent Food Waste

News from Mary Mazzoni

A staggering 40 percent of all edible food is wasted in the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (PDF).

Many factors contribute to this chilling total, but a recent report from NRDC and the Harvard Law and Policy Clinic indicates misinterpretation of food labels may be a big part of the problem.

Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, is determined to cut waste totals down to size by preventing food that is slightly past its sell-by date but still perfectly edible from ending up in the landfill.

Early next year, the executive-turned-philanthropist plans to open a new market in Dorchester, Mass., that will prepare and repackage past-sell-by-date foods and sell them at rock-bottom prices.

“It’s kind of like a hybrid between a grocery store and a restaurant, if you would,” Rauch told NPR. “Primarily it’s going to take this food in, prep it, cook it [for] what I call speed-scratch cooking. But the idea is to offer this at prices that compete with fast food.”

According to a study conducted by The Food Trust on behalf of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, most of Dorchester sits in what urban planners call a “food desert” — meaning the area has little to no grocery stores or options for purchasing fresh foods.

In most food deserts, corner convenience stores and fast food restaurants are the only choices for putting dinner on the table — a problem Rauch hopes to solve by rescuing wholesome, edible produce from grocery store trash bins and selling it in the underserved community.

His store, called The Daily Table, will sell prepared foods, as well as fruits and vegetables

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