Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) launched FoodShare, a new program designed to help end hunger in America by donating ready-to-eat meals from its 7,600 company-operated stores to food banks.
The company will accomplish its objective through its existing collaboration with Food Donation Connections and its new partnership with Feeding America.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are almost 50 million Americans struggling to prevent hunger today. The agency estimated that there are 15 million children living in households with an insufficient supply of nutritious food.
Feeding America noted that wasting food is also a significant contributor to the food problem in the United States. The organization estimated that approximately 70 billion pounds of food are wasted across the country every year.
Starbucks to eliminate contribution to food waste
Donating surplus food from the company is not simple because its food safety policies require baristas to discard salads, sandwiches, and other refrigerated items after the designated expiration date even if the food could still be consumed.
Starbucks invested in research and quality assurance testing to develop a process to donate fresh food safely. Through FoodShare, it will be able to provide nutritious food to nearly five million meals to individual and families.
“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,” said Jane Maly, brand manager, Starbucks Food team.
Maly added, “The challenge was finding a way to preserve the food’s quality during delivery. 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.”
Starbucks plans to scale the program over the next five years and save 100% of its food available for donation from its company-operated stores in the United States. The company could donate around 50 million meals by 2021.
Feeding America will pick up unsold food from Starbucks
Feeding America will use a refrigerated van to pick up unsold food from Starbucks every day and redistribute it to people in need. The organization is the largest domestic hunger-relief and food-rescue nonprofit in the United States.
Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv said, “We applaud Starbucks for its leadership and commitment to ending hunger. Their program will have a tremendous impact on communities, and it is also a testament of how we can work together to help more individuals and families achieve food security.”
John Kelly, senior vice president, Starbucks Global Responsibility, Community and Public Policy, said, “Like many of our social impact initiatives, the innovation and inspiration comes from our partners who are volunteering in and contributing to their communities.