Grocery stores get rid of an enormous amount of food on a daily basis. There are even those who feel the need to prevent homeless people from accessing these items by locking their garbage bins and even prosecuting people for theft. But there are also those who do their due diligence by donating these foods to shelters and half way homes.
Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s who made millions of dollars marketing cheap but chic groceries across America, plans to sell meals prepared with food that is edible but has passed its sell-by date to low-income consumers in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.
In what he calls his Urban Food Initiative, Rauch wants to take food “waste” — perishables at, near, or past their expiration date that supermarkets throw out daily — and turn it into healthy meals priced like a McDonald’s Big Mac. He compared it to Goodwill selling used clothing and other items.
Second hand clothes? Second hand food?
“The number-one leading problem is affordable nutrition,” said Rauch, who worked for 31 years at the California-based Trader Joe’s grocery chain until he retired in 2008. “For the 50 million Americans who are food insecure, their solution is not a full stomach. It’s a healthy meal.”
The store would sell takeout items such as soups, salads, stews, casseroles, and wraps that are low in fat and high in nutrients, according to Rauch. The space would also feature a teaching kitchen where people can learn to cook quick, healthy meals. In addition, the shop would sell packaged chopped vegetables and offer milk at or past its sell-by date for as low as $1 a gallon — a price that makes it competitive with soda.
But not everyone is “down” with this cause.
Kiki Carter, 33, a stylist at Ketta’s Hair Salon and self-described neighborhood entrepreneur, reject the concept, saying Dorchester does not need food other people consider undesirable.
“We don’t want it,” Carter said of the proposed store. “Why would we?”
What do you think of the Urban Food Initiative?