After years of deliberation and planning, Starbucks has finally announced that it will donate all unsold food to those in need, starting with its U.S. stores.
The Seattle-based coffee giant gave the green light after successfully working out a way to ensure the unsold food remains safe to eat.
Named FoodShare, Starbucks’ new program will donate unsold ready-to-eat meals from the company’s more than 7,600 outlets across the United States. It partnered up with Food Donation Connection and Feeding America to effectively distribute the meals.
Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, the U.S. has many hungry months, with Feeding America reporting that an alarming 14% (17.4 million) of the nation’s households facing food insecurity.
These 17.4 million households represent 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children for a total of 48.1 million Americans who live in homes where regular meals are not guaranteed.
Starbucks estimates that Foodshare will be able to provide almost 5 million meals in its initial year and up to 50 million meals by 2021, so you can bet it could help out a significant number of struggling households.
The company had long wanted to donate its unsold food to charity; however, concerns over the perishability of the food items — many become spoiled by the time they reach the intended recipients — required a solution that took time to develop.
In an interview with Fortune magazine, Starbucks brand manager Jane Maly stated:
“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.”
Not only will FoodShare help feed hungry mouths, but it will also go a long way to address the issue of food waste.
Food that is left to rot and decay in landfills could release methane into the atmosphere, and that’s even more destructive than the greenhouse effect of CO2.
Around 70 billion pounds of food are wasted annually in the U.S. alone, a staggering figure by any measure. In Latin America, the amount of food wasted could feed 37 percent of the world’s hungry.
Will you be eating at Starbucks a lot more now that it donates its wasted food? Let us know in the comments below.