The problem of food waste is one of the major challenges facing our world today. The issue is particularly pressing in the US, as according to Feeding America, around 32 billion kilograms of food is wasted across the country every year. This non-profit organisation, which aims to raise awareness of the little-known problem of hunger in the US and then tackle it by establishing a network of food banks, estimates that 1 in 7 Americans struggle with hunger.
Starbucks has recently joined the fight, by declaring that it will donate 100% of its leftover food to those in need. The new initiative FoodShare, in collaboration with Feeding America and the food redistribution group Food Donation Connection, aims to donate all the uneaten food from its 7600 stores in the US to food banks across the country. Through this scheme, the company wants to detach itself from the food waste pandemic and take active steps towards solving the problem and providing food to those in need.
Starbucks has been redistributing certain foods such as pastries for many years now, but has only recently been able to attempt to donate 100% of its leftover food. The issue with this utopian idea previously was that it was not considered safe to donate and redistribute leftover food. There were many health concerns regarding the storage and transportation of perishable foods, which meant that companies were unable to donate food, even if they wanted to. However, as a result of increased pressure from their employees, Starbucks found a solution. With the help of Feeding America and the Food Donation Connection and their refrigerated vans, Starbucks is now able to safely transport leftover meals at the end of every day to local food banks. The company claims that the food will reach those in need within 24 hours.
Starbucks intends FoodShare to provide 5 million meals to those in need in its first year. Over the next five years, the company is aiming to expand the project so that all stores owned by the Starbucks Corporation donate 100% of their food waste.