Starbucks has announced their plan to achieve zero food waste within five years. The coffee giant known for their pricey lattes and chai teas will be donating all unsold food, baked goods, and perishable items to the needy through their partnership with Food Donation Connection (FDC).
This new FoodShare Program allows Starbucks to expand its partnership with FDC and also team up with Feeding America to ensure all unsold foods at its 7,600 company-operated stores will be donated to the hungry. This idea came from the chains’ store employees, who are most aware of the amount of food waste generated each day.
“When we thought about our vast store footprint across the U.S. and the impact we could make, it put a fire under us to figure out how to donate this food instead of throwing it away,” spokeswoman Jane Maly said. Initially, only non-perishable items were being donated. Going forward, large. refrigerated trucks will be visiting stores periodically throughout the day collecting all unsold goods, including perishable foods, and then moving them to homeless shelters and food banks in the area.
According to the federal government, more than 130 billion pounds of food gets thrown away in the U.S. each year. With statistics like these, the concept of donating food to those in need to achieve zero food waste may sound like a no-brainer, but implementing the process is not so easy. Due to current food safety regulations, any foods with passed expiration dates require that they be discarded, even if the food is still safe to eat.
The FoodShare program is initially limited to the United States, but Starbucks also has international plans. The chain’s roughly 1,300 Canadian locations already donate food to local food banks, and this program is slated for expansion, as well. That’s good news for Canada, where it is estimated that $31 billion a year is thrown into the garbage in the form of wasted food.