Starbucks perks up to help feed the hungry

Tags: Starbucks

Socially-minded Starbucks has launched a FoodShare Program to donate unsold nourishing, ready-to-eat meals to Feeding America’s network of food banks, rather than see them tossed in the trash.

The FoodShare Program will be implemented over the next five years to rescue 100 percent of Starbucks’ unsold ready-to eat meals, including breakfast and Panini sandwiches, Bistro Boxes and salads, from all company-operated Starbucks locations.

The program will be accomplished through an existing collaboration with Food Donation Connection and a new partnership with Feeding America, according to Starbucks’ news announcement on its website. 

Feeding America has 200 member food banks, including the Harry Chapin Food Bank, and is the largest food bank network in America. 

Until now, Starbucks had a strict food safety mandate that any unsold salads, sandwiches and other perishable foods be thrown away by the expiration dates—even items that were still good and safe to eat. When their employees brought this waste to the attention of the company, Starbucks quickly moved to change their policy, investing in research and quality assurance testing to develop a way to safely donate the food.

Feeding America greets this new strategic partnership with excitement.

 “With their expanse of stores across the country and their broad commitment to Feeding America, we anticipate that the impact of our partnership with Starbucks will be far-reaching,” said Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv in a written statement. “By donating unsold prepared foods at the end of each day, Starbucks will add an estimated 40 million meals over the next five years for people facing hunger." 

As part of their commitment, “Starbucks has committed funds of more than $50 million to support the development of food bank and agency capacity to safely handle and transport this new source of food from Starbucks stores to the people we serve,” she said.

Starbucks has 7,600 company-operated stores in the U.S. More details about the roll-out plan will unfold over the next several months. 

Kudos to Starbucks for its show of corporate responsibility in stepping up to tackle the huge problem of food waste. Feeding America estimates that 70 billion pounds of food are wasted each year. By its actions, Starbucks is hoping to inspire other corporate citizens to join the good food fight.

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