Freegans have long declared war against Trader Joe’s stores (as well as found happiness in the Dumpsters), and now the chain’s ex-president has seemingly come around to the open-minded, banana-peel-smoking way of thought: Next year, Doug Rauch will open the Daily Table, a grocery store that takes gleaning to the next level by dealing almost exclusively in goods that have passed their sell-by date at discounted, fast-food-level prices. No, this is not an underhanded way to make money, Rauch says: For starters, the Dorchester, Massachusetts, store’s focus on fruits and vegetables that are not cosmetically up to other outlet’s standards is a way of addressing the monumental amount of domestic food waste.
Much of the food that gets thrown away in grocery stores is perfectly good, the executive says, telling NPR that he keeps his milk and bread for weeks past the recommended sell-by date. It’s a well-known problem that Americans are a little trash-happy with our supposed perishables, and our purported misreading of expiration dates may have something to do with the fact that one third of the world’s food supply goes to waste.
So a business plan that includes cooking a bunch of expired products and serving them in hot bars may seem at first like a cringe-inducing scam, but Rauch claims the Daily Table will be using a tactic already commonly employed by food banks and certain not-to-be-named grocery stores. The real goal of the project is to provide a source of nutritious food to an underserved area. “This is about trying to tackle a very large social challenge we have that is going to create a health care tsunami in cost if we don’t do something about it,” he tells the Salt.
Trader Joe’s Ex-President To Turn Expired Food Into Cheap Meals [The Salt/NPR]
Related: Freegan Thinks Trader Joe’s Should Stop Wasting Food, Makes a Movie About It